Early 24-hour blood pressure elevation in normotensive subjects with parental hypertension

A. Ravogli, S. Trazzi, A. Villani, E. Mutti, C. Cuspidi, L. Sampieri, L. De Ambroggi, G. Parati, A. Zanchetti, G. Mancia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subjects with a family history of parental hypertension are reported to have a slightly higher office blood pressure in the prehypertensive stage. Whether this reflects a hyperreactivity to blood pressure measurement or a more permanent blood pressure elevation, however, is not known. In the present study, blood pressure was measured in 15 normotensive subjects whose parents are both hypertensive (FH++), 15 normotensive subjects with one hypertensive parent (FH+-), and 15 normotensive subjects whose parents are not hypertensive (FH--); among the three groups, subjects were matched for age, sex, and body mass index. The measurements were made in the office during a variety of laboratory stressors and during a prolonged resting period, and for a 24-hour period (ambulatory blood pressure monitoring). Office blood pressure was higher in the FH++ group than in the FH-- group (p <0.05). The pressor responses to laboratory stressors were similar in the two groups, but the FH++ group had higher prolonged resting and 24-hour blood pressure than the FH-- group; the difference was always significant (p <0.05) for systolic blood pressure. The FH++ group also had a greater left ventricular mass index (on echocardiographic examination) than the FH-- group (p <0.01). The blood pressure values and echocardiographic values of the FH+- group tended to be between those of the other two groups. Thus, the higher blood pressure shown by individuals in the prehypertensive stage with a family history of parental hypertension does not reflect a hyperreactivity to stress but an early permanent blood pressure elevation. Because blood pressure is related to cardiovascular disease even within the normotensive range, we can speculate that these individuals are at increased risk even before hypertension develops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-497
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • ambulatory blood pressure monitoring
  • blood pressure
  • echocardiography
  • genetic hypertension
  • stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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