Regional Fat Distribution and Blood Pressure Level and Variability: The Dallas Heart Study

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Our aim was to investigate the associations of regional fat distribution with home and office blood pressure (BP) levels and variability. Participants in the Dallas Heart Study, a multiethnic cohort, underwent 5 BP measurements on 3 occasions during 5 months (2 in home and 1 in office) and quantification of visceral adipose tissue, abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue, and liver fat by magnetic resonance imaging, and lower body subcutaneous fat by dual x-ray absorptiometry. The relation of regional adiposity with short-term (within-visit) and long-term (overall visits) mean BP and average real variability was assessed with multivariable linear regression. We have included 2595 participants with a mean age of 44 years (54% women; 48% black), and mean body mass index was 29 kg/m2. Mean systolic BP/diastolic BP was 127/79 mm Hg and average real variability systolic BP was 9.8 mm Hg during 3 visits. In multivariable-adjusted models, higher amount of visceral adipose tissue was associated with higher short-term (both home and office) and long-term mean systolic BP (β[SE]: 1.9[0.5], 2.7[0.5], and 2.1[0.5], respectively; all P<0.001) and with lower long-term average real variability systolic BP (β[SE]: −0.5[0.2]; P<0.05). In contrast, lower body fat was associated with lower short-term home and long-term mean BP (β[SE]: −0.30[0.13] and −0.24[0.1], respectively; both P<0.05). Neither subcutaneous adipose tissue or liver fat was associated with BP levels or variability. In conclusion, excess visceral fat was associated with persistently higher short- and long-term mean BP levels and with lower long-term BP variability, whereas lower body fat was associated with lower short- and long-term mean BP. Persistently elevated BP, coupled with lower variability, may partially explain increased risk for cardiac hypertrophy and failure related to visceral adiposity.

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