Parameters Associated with Elevated Systolic Blood Pressure Levels in Greek Military Pilots

G. Platsas1, *, G. Kourianidis2, P. Toutouzas3, C. Stefanadis3, G. Vyssoulis3
1 Greek Military Academy (SSE), Athens, Greece
2 Hellenic Airforce 251 General Hospital, Athens, Greece
3 Kapodestrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

© 2014 Platsas et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the 38 Glinou street, 16345 Ilioupoli, Athens, Greece; Tel: +30 210 9705296; Fax: +30 2310 821795; E-mail:



Elevated blood pressure levels (BP) continue to comprise one of the most important public health problems worldwide. Hypertension is among the most serious risk factors that relates to myocardial infarction, stroke and kidney failure. The purpose of the study was to examine factors that may contribute to presentation of hypertension in military jet pilots.


This is a cross-sectional study of 300 jet pilots of Greek Air-Force. Several data were retrieved from medical files. Participants filled in a questionnaire about demographics, dietary habits and lifestyle factors. Arterial BP was also measured. Spearman’s r was used for correlations. Also, multivariate linear regression analysis was performed.


All pilots presented systolic and diastolic BP within normal range (mean: 117.5 mmHg and 77.0 mmHg, respectively). 200 pilots presented optimal BP, 80 normal BP and 20 had marginally normal BP. Most pilots were exercising up to two times weekly (66.9%), however, some reported they didn’t exercise at all (12%) and mentioned exercising for a mean period of 12.0 (±7.6) years, mainly (62.1%) outdoors with aerobic (52.4%), anaerobic exercises (5.6%) or both (42%). Factors that influenced systolic BP levels were body mass index, flight hours, HDL values and exercise intensity.


Pilots’ medical monitoring seems adequate since there weren’t any abnormal BP values. Emphasis should be placed on the continuation of programs already in place with further refinement according to specific needs. Smoking cessation interventions are needed as well as promotion of measures that can effectively lead to long standing life-style changes and dietary modifications.

Keywords: Arterial hypertension, flight hours, jet pilots, leisure time physical activity, risk factors.