The incidence of hypertension has been associated to cigarette smoking and consumption of alcohol. In the present study, trace and toxic elements were determined in scalp hair of patients diagnosed with hypertension who are smokers and habitual alcohol drinkers living in Dublin, Ireland. These results were compared with age- and sex-matched healthy, nonsmokers, nondrinking controls. The concentrations of trace and toxic elements were measured by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrophotometer after microwave-assisted acid digestion. The validity and accuracy of the methodology were checked using certified reference material (NCS ZC 81002b) and by the conventional wet acid digestion method on the same certified reference material and on real samples. The recovery of all the studied elements was found to be in the range of 97.5%-99.7% in certified reference material. The results of this study showed that the mean values of cadmium, copper, iron, nickel and lead were significantly higher in scalp hair samples of both smoker and nonsmoker hypertensive patients than referents (P < 0.001); whereas, the concentration of zinc was lower in the scalp hair samples of hypertensive patients of both genders. The deficiency of zinc and the high exposure of trace and toxic metals as a result of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption may be synergistic with risk factors associated with hypertension.
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