Open Access Open Badges Research

High blood pressure, antihypertensive medication and lung function in a general adult population

Eva Schnabel12*, Stefan Karrasch345, Holger Schulz135, Sven Gläser6, Christa Meisinger117, Margit Heier117, Annette Peters118, H-Erich Wichmann18, Jürgen Behr59, Rudolf M Huber105, Joachim Heinrich1 and for the Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) Study Group

Author Affiliations

1 Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg, Germany

2 Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Dr. von Hauner Children's Hospital, Munich, Germany

3 Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Lung Biology and Disease, Munich, Germany

4 Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Munich, Germany

5 Comprehensive Pneumology Center, University Hospital of the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Asklepios Hospital Gauting and Helmholtz Zentrum München, Munich, Germany

6 Department of Internal Medicine B - Cardiology, Intensive Care, Pulmonary Medicine and Infectious Diseases, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany

7 Central Hospital of Augsburg, MONICA/KORA Myocardial Infarction Registry, Augsburg, Germany

8 Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Institute of Medical Data Management, Biometrics and Epidemiology, Munich, Germany

9 Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Division of Pulmonary Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine I, Grosshadern, Munich, Germany

10 Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Division of Respiratory Medicine, Department of Medicine, Innenstadt, Munich, Germany

11 Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology II, Neuherberg, Germany

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Respiratory Research 2011, 12:50  doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-50

Published: 21 April 2011



Several studies showed that blood pressure and lung function are associated. Additionally, a potential effect of antihypertensive medication, especially beta-blockers, on lung function has been discussed. However, side effects of beta-blockers have been investigated mainly in patients with already reduced lung function. Thus, aim of this analysis is to determine whether hypertension and antihypertensive medication have an adverse effect on lung function in a general adult population.


Within the population-based KORA F4 study 1319 adults aged 40-65 years performed lung function tests and blood pressure measurements. Additionally, information on anthropometric measurements, medical history and use of antihypertensive medication was available. Multivariable regression models were applied to study the association between blood pressure, antihypertensive medication and lung function.


High blood pressure as well as antihypertensive medication were associated with lower forced expiratory volume in one second (p = 0.02 respectively p = 0.05; R2: 0.65) and forced vital capacity values (p = 0.01 respectively p = 0.05, R2: 0.73). Furthermore, a detailed analysis of antihypertensive medication pointed out that only the use of beta-blockers was associated with reduced lung function, whereas other antihypertensive medication had no effect on lung function. The adverse effect of beta-blockers was significant for forced vital capacity (p = 0.04; R2: 0.65), while the association with forced expiratory volume in one second showed a trend toward significance (p = 0.07; R2: 0.73). In the same model high blood pressure was associated with reduced forced vital capacity (p = 0.01) and forced expiratory volume in one second (p = 0.03) values, too.


Our analysis indicates that both high blood pressure and the use of beta-blockers, but not the use of other antihypertensive medication, are associated with reduced lung function in a general adult population.