Blood pressure during exercise an indicator of cardiovascular health


WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) – A jump in blood pressure during a stress test may be a better indicator of underlying heart dysfunction than blood pressure measured at rest, the results of a small study suggest.

"This measure of blood pressure during exercise may reveal new information about the status of someone's underlying cardiovascular health," lead investigator Dr. Kerry J. Stewart of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, told Reuters Health.

The findings were presented last week in Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.

The researchers followed 35 adults with mild, untreated high blood pressure, measuring their blood pressure at rest and then during a later treadmill test. They found that people who developed high pulse pressure while they were exercising were the most likely to have poor functioning of blood vessel endothelial cells.

The research indicates that physicians should pay special attention to stress test results, Dr. Stewart said, because blood pressure and pulse pressure during exercise were better indicators of blood vessel functioning than blood pressure and pulse pressure at rest.

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