Clustering of coronary risk factors with increasing blood pressure at rest and during exercise

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BackgroundThe metabolic cardiovascular syndrome is the label given to the clustering of unfavourable levels of a number of coronary risk factors in subjects with high resting blood pressures. We found recently that exercise blood pressure had a strong independent prognostic value.ObjectiveTo search for possible similar associations between exercise blood pressure levels and coronary risk factors by studying conventional and recently acknowledged coronary risk factors.MethodsThe study population comprised 1999 healthy men aged 40–59 years. Age-adjusted coronary risk factor levels and their relation to resting and exercise blood pressures were studied. Resting blood pressure was measured after subjects had rested supine for 5 min. The exercise blood pressure used was the systolic blood pressure measured with the subject sitting on a bicycle ergometer at the end of a work load of 600 kpm/min (100 W) for 6 min.ResultsBesides corroborating the relation between the metabolic syndrome and resting blood pressure levels, we observed similar or even stronger associations between levels of various coronary risk factors and exercise blood pressure. We found rather strong, direct associations between exercise blood pressure and total cholesterol level, fasting triglyceride level and body mass index whereas inverse relations were found for glucose tolerance, physical fitness, pulmonary functioning and the ability to increase heart rate during exercise. Virtually all these associations had a level of statistical significance of P < 0.001.ConclusionsHigh exercise blood pressure levels are strongly associated with unfavourable levels of a number of important coronary risk factors. A similar metabolic syndrome to that observed in subjects with high resting blood pressures therefore appears to be present in subjects with high exercise blood pressure responses. These associations may considerably amplify the independent risk of high blood pressure responses to moderate exercise.

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