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Blood Pressure Response During Exercise May Indicate Future Risk of Hypertension and Cardiovascular Disease

Blood pressure should gradually return to normal following exercise. The quicker blood pressure returns to resting level, the healthier a person usually is. A recent study suggests that higher blood pressure during exercise and delayed blood pressure recovery following exercise may indicate a higher risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease later in life.

For their study, researchers used data from 1,993 people with an average age of 58 who participated in the Framingham Offspring Study. The participants completed a treadmill exercise test at a level less than their maximum exercise capacity. Blood pressure was measured at baseline, midway through the exercise, and every minute for four minutes after completing the exercise. They were followed for an average of 12 years and all instances of hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and death were recorded.

 During the follow-up period, 44.4% of participants developed hypertension, 16.2% had a cardiovascular event, and 15.1% died. Higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure during exercise were associated with a higher risk of developing hypertension. Higher diastolic blood pressure during exercise was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.

Delayed systolic and diastolic blood pressure recovery following exercise were associated with an increased risk of hypertension. Delayed systolic blood pressure recovery was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Boston University Department of Medicine. It was published online ahead of print on May 20, 2020 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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