Exaggerated blood pressure responses during mental stress are prospectively related to enhanced carotid atherosclerosis in middle-aged Finnish men

J. Richard Jennings, Thomas W. Kamarck, Susan A. Everson-Rose, George A. Kaplan, Stephen B. Manuck, J. T. Salonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background - Hemodynamic reactions to mental stress may contribute to atherosclerosis. We previously observed cross-sectional relationships between blood pressure reactions to a standardized stress battery and carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease (KIHD) study. These are the first prospective results on this relationship. Methods and Results - Men from 4 age cohorts (42 to 60 years old at study onset) were challenged with a standardized mental stress battery, and heart rate and blood pressure reactions were assessed. Ultrasound measures of common carotid IMT were collected at this time and 7 years later as noninvasive markers of atherosclerosis. Data were collected from a sample of 756 men at both times. Systolic blood pressure reactions to mental stress at study onset were positively related to mean carotid IMT 7 years later (β=0.035, P=0.001, by blood pressure quartile, IMT=0.91, 0.93, 0.96, 1.00 mm) and to the progression of IMT (β=0.020, P=0.006, by blood pressure quartile, ΔIMT=0.08, 0.09, 0.11, 0.11 mm). Similar significant relations were shown for maximal IMT and plaque height. Diastolic blood pressure responses were less strongly related to carotid IMT than were systolic responses. Heart-rate responses were unrelated. Adjustment for standard risk factors did not substantially reduce the relation between systolic blood pressure reactivity and the progression of mean carotid IMT (standardized β=0.059, P=0.026), maximal carotid IMT (standardized β=0.084, P=0.006), or plaque height (standardized β=0.093, P=0.008). Conclusions - The degree of systolic blood pressure reactivity to mental challenge is prospectively related to carotid IMT in middle-aged and older men, independent of known risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2198-2203
Number of pages6
JournalCirculation
Volume110
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 12 2004

Keywords

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Carotid arteries
  • Risk factors
  • Stress

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