Being an only child may have its advantages, but avoiding hypertension isn't one of them. Researchers at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo report a "strong association" between high blood pressure and lack of siblings.
The SUNY team analyzed data from a survey of 1,472 white men and women, ages 20 to 70.
The results showed that 58% of the men without siblings were hypertensive, as opposed to 33% of those with brothers or sisters; 37% of the female "onlies" were affected, versus 25% for those with siblings.
Normal blood pressure is usually lower than 140 over 90. The men in the lone-offspring group averaged 152 over 93, and the women 142 over 85.
"Only children have been associated with hard-driving, Type-A personalities and a greater need for achievement," says Dr. Maurizio Trevisan, an associate professor of social and preventive medicine. "These traits may be linked with their hypertension."