Exaggerated Blood Pressure Response to Exercise is Associated With Inflammatory Markers

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An exaggerated blood pressure (EBP) response to exercise has been shown to be a predictor of future hypertension and risk of cardiovascular mortality. Although EBP is associated with endothelial dysfunction and increased left ventricular hypertrophy, the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Inflammatory markers, C-reactive protein (CRP) and white blood cells (WBCs), were predictive of future hypertension. The objective of this study was to examine the hypothesis that increasing levels of CRP and WBCs would be related to an EBP response during exercise.


Inflammatory markers were compared in 43 males with an EBP (systolic blood pressure [SBP] ≥210 mm Hg) response during maximal treadmill testing to an age and resting SBP-matched group of 42 males with a normal blood pressure response to exercise.


There were significant group differences in maximal SBP and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), exercise induced increases in SBP and DBP (P <.01), and WBCs (P <.01), but CRP did not differ between groups (P =.39). White blood cells were significantly associated with maximal SBP (r = 0.31), and the exercise-induced increase in SBP (r = 0.34). However, CRP did not correlate with the maximal blood pressure response to exercise (r = 0.11, P =.33). In a stepwise multiple regression analysis, WBC was independently associated with the exercise-induced increase in SBP (β = 0.256, P =.011).


These results suggest that inflammation may be associated with an EBP response during exercise testing.

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