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Experimental studies have reported that common antihypertensive drugs such as diuretics, beta-blockers, and methyldopa have adverse effects on plasma lipids and lipoproteins. To investigate whether such effects can be observed in the general population, plasma lipid and lipoprotein levels were compared in subjects receiving antihypertensive treatment, subjects with untreated high blood pressure, and subjects with normal blood pressure in a random sample of 5603 subjects screened in a national study of risk factor prevalence in Australia. In both sexes, high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was lower in the group receiving treatment than in the others (p < 0.001). In men, triglycerides (TG) (p < 0.001) and the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol (TC/HDL cholesterol) (p < 0.05) were higher in the group receiving treatment. In both sexes, the differences in plasma lipids and lipoproteins between treated and untreated hypertensive groups were independent of age, body mass index, alcohol consumption, and smoking. More than 40% of the treated or untreated hypertensive men and women had elevated total cholesterol (TC > 252 mg/dl) or an elevated TC/HDL cholesterol ratio (>6.0). In men receiving antihypertensive treatment, the prevalence of an elevated TC/HDL cholesterol ratio was significantly greater than in men with untreated high blood pressure (p < 0.01). The results of this study suggest that the effects of antihypertensive treatment on plasma lipids and lipoproteins can be observed in population lipid and lipoprotein levels. Even before treatment, a large proportion of high blood pressure patients have a significant plasma cholesterol abnormality, which may be aggravated by conventional antihypertensive therapy.


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391 - 396