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SBP inversely tied to depression, anxiety in young adults

11 Sep 2017

An inverse association exists between systolic blood pressure (SBP) in young adults and depression and anxiety score, independent of a range of lifestyle confounders, according to a recent study. Furthermore, the inverse association between SBP and self-reported history of depression is enhanced by adiposity despite a positive correlation between BP and body mass index (BMI).

Researchers analysed data on 1,014 participants aged 20 years from the Western Australian Cohort (Raine) Study for cross-sectional associations between clinic BP and Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scale questionnaire scores or a reported history of depression, accounting for relevant confounders.

Multivariable adjusted analyses revealed that SBP in young adults was inversely associated with depression (coefficient=‒0.10; p=0.012) and anxiety (after excluding two outliers with SBP >156 mm Hg, coefficient=‒0.13; p=0.018) scores, independent of sex, BMI, female hormonal contraceptive use, alcohol consumption, birth weight and maternal hypertension in pregnancy.

For every 2-SD (16 units) increase in depression score, SBP was lower by 1.6 mm Hg. Moreover, an inverse relationship was found between self-reported history of depression (15.8 percent of participants) and SBP (coefficient=‒1.91; p=0.023), with an interaction with increasing BMI (coefficient=‒0.43; p=0.002) enhancing this difference.

“These findings contrast with the predisposition of depressed participants to cardiovascular disease in later life when decades of unhealthy lifestyle changes may dominate,” researchers said.

In a previous study, Tikhonoff and colleagues found that a cumulative effect of symptoms of anxiety and depression across adulthood led to lower SBP in late middle age that was not explained by lifestyle factors and antihypertensive treatment. [J Hypertens 2014;32:1590-8]

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