BACKGROUND: Hypertension represents a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. The pathogenesis of hypertension in acromegaly is commonly viewed as multifactorial, but the possible influence of metabolic disorders on blood pressure (BP) in affected patients is largely unknown. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the impact of glucose metabolism abnormalities on BP values in a series of patients with active acromegaly. DESIGN: An open multicentre prospective study. PATIENTS: Sixty-eight patients with active disease, aged 47.5 ± 11.7 years, have been studied. Thirtynine had normal glucose tolerance (NGT), 16 impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and 13 suffered from diabetes mellitus (DM). MEASUREMENTS: Mean clinical BP values were calculated as the mean of BP values obtained by sphygmomanometric measurement in three separate occasions and mean 24-h, diurnal and nocturnal systolic (SBP) and diastolic (DBP) values were obtained by 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). RESULTS: Patient's age and the degree of glucose tolerance abnormalities were found to significantly and independently influence BP values. All clinical and ABPM SBP and DBP values significantly increased with age by linear regression (P <0.02 for all BP values, 0.30 ≤ R ≤ 0.43), and the independent influence of this parameter on BP values was confirmed by mutivariate analysis. Similarly, the independent influence of glucose tolerance abnormalities on BP values was confirmed when introducing age as a covariable in a multivariate analysis, and patients with DM presented significantly higher clinical SBP and 24-h, diurnal and nocturnal SBP and DBP than patients with NGT (P <0.02 for clinical SBP, P <0.015 for all ABPM values, respectively). In addition, patients with DM showed significantly higher 24-h, diurnal and nocturnal DBP than those with IGT (P <0.05 in all cases). In contrast, no significant difference was found between NGT and IGT patients. No significant influence of disease duration, BMI, GH, IGF-I, or fasting and 2-h post glucose load insulinaemia on BP values was observed. CONCLUSIONS: Abnormalities of glucose metabolism significantly contribute to increase systolic blood pressure and especially diastolic blood pressure in acromegalic patients. Careful control of blood pressure and of risk factors for developing systemic hypertension, with special reference to glucose tolerance, is mandatory to decrease cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in such patients.
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