Blood Pressure Variability and Stress Management Training for Essential Hypertension

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether stress management training reduces blood pressure (BP) variability in hypertensive patients. Previous literature suggests that cardiovascular risk is not only a function of BP levels, but also of BP variability, and this partially depends on changes induced by the stress of everyday life. The authors reanalyzed data from a previous study of 43 male patients with essential hypertension who were randomly assigned to 2 groups (stress management training and waiting list). Patients in the stress management group lowered their self-measured BP variability significantly from pretreatment to the 4-month follow-up examination, showing a mean reduction of 2.6/1.5 mm Hg in the standard deviation of systolic/diastolic BP (SBP/DBP), and a mean decrease of 1.84/1.59% in the coefficient of variation of SBP/DBP. For SBP, these reductions were significantly greater than those showed by the control group. These results suggest that stress management training is effective in reducing day-to-day BP variability, providing an additional reduction in cardiovascular risk for hypertensive patients.

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