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BACKGROUND: Reliable quantification of the association between blood pressure (BP) and risk of type 2 diabetes is lacking. OBJECTIVES: This study sought to determine the association between usual BP and risk of diabetes, overall and by participant characteristics. METHODS: A cohort of 4.1 million adults, free of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, was identified using validated linked electronic health records. Analyses were complemented by a meta-analysis of prospective studies that reported relative risks of new-onset diabetes per unit of systolic blood pressure (SBP). RESULTS: Among the overall cohort, 20 mm Hg higher SBP and 10 mm Hg higher diastolic BP were associated with a 58% and a 52% higher risk of new-onset diabetes (hazard ratio: 1.58; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.56 to 1.59; and hazard ratio: 1.52; 95% confidence interval: 1.51 to 1.54), respectively. There was no evidence of a nadir to a baseline BP of 110/70 mm Hg. The strength of the association per 20 mm Hg higher SBP declined with age and with increasing body mass index. Estimates were similar even after excluding individuals prescribed antihypertensive or lipid-lowering therapies. Systematic review identified 30 studies with 285,664 participants and 17,388 incident diabetes events. The pooled relative risk of diabetes for a 20 mm Hg higher usual SBP across these studies was 1.77 (1.53 to 2.05). CONCLUSIONS: People with elevated BP are at increased risk of diabetes. The strength of the association declined with increasing body mass index and age. Further research should determine if the observed risk is modifiable.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Coll Cardiol

Publication Date





1552 - 1562


body mass index, meta-analysis, regression dilution bias, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Female, Humans, Hypertension, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, United Kingdom