Seasonal variations in home and ambulatory blood pressure in the PAMELA population

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Abstract

Objective

Clinic blood pressure values are known to change according to seasonal influences. We therefore examined home and 24 h ambulatory blood pressure values to determine whether these measurements are also affected by the seasons.

Design and methods

In 2051 subjects of the Pressione Arteriose Monitorate E Loro Associazioni (PAMELA) study, we measured clinic (sphygmomanometric measurements), home (semi-automatic device) and ambulatory (Spacelabs 90207) systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. Because the overall sample was evenly distributed over each month (except August), we were able to make a cross-sectional determination of whether the values differed between seasons. The corresponding heart rates were also evaluated.

Results

As expected, summer was associated with the lowest clinic blood pressure and winter with the highest, and this was the case also for home and 24 h average blood pressure, although seasonal differences in the latter were less pronounced. Seasonal clinic, home and ambulatory blood pressure patterns were similar for normotensive subjects (n = 1152), untreated hypertensives (n = 540) and treated hypertensives (n = 359). Heart rate values did not differ by season.

Conclusions

Seasonal influences on blood pressure are not limited to conventional measurements but characterize daily values as well. These effects are visible in both normal and elevated blood pressure values, regardless of the effect of antihypertensive drugs. This has implications both for the clinician and for studies aimed at evaluating the effects of antihypertensive treatment.

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