Subjects with family history of hypertension represent a suitable model to investigate the mechanisms responsible for early cardiovascular structural and functional changes occurring in essential hypertension. In our study we have addressed the factors involved in determining the mild elevation in office blood pressure frequently observed in normotensive subjects with hypertensive parents. In 15 normotensive subjects with both parents hypertensive (FH+plus; and in 15 normotensive subjects with one parent hypertensive (FH+minus; we found no evidence of a hyperreactivity to stress as compared to the responses of 15 normotensive subjects with no parental hypertension (FH- On the contrary FH+plus; subjects were characterized by a significant although mild increase in their blood pressure values recorded either at rest and in ambulatory conditions over the 24 hours, including night sleep. FH+plus; and FH+minus; subjects also showed a greater left ventricular mass thickness and a greater minimal forearm vascular resistence than FH subjects. Thus, the elevation in blood pressure found in the pre-hypertensive stage in subjects with positive family history for hypertension does not reflect a hyperreactivity to the stress associated with physician's visit but indicates an early and persistent blood pressure elevation. This blood pressure elevation is accompanied by early cardiovascular structural changes which may indicate that these subjects are exposed to a higher risk even before developing overt hypertension.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine