Absence of resting cardiovascular state in athletes with EBP does not indicate dysfunction
Athletes with exaggerated blood pressure (EBP) do not show the resting cardiovascular state normally seen in untrained individuals with EBP, a recent study has found. Such response in athletes is associated with a compensatory mechanism to satisfy peripheral blood-flow demands rather than an indication of a latent dysfunction.
Researchers recruited 22 lifelong endurance-trained athletes (mean age 56 years; 16 men) with EBP (EBP+) and 11 age- and sex-matched athletes (mean age 55 years; eight men) without EBP (EBP‒) to determine the resting cardiovascular state of endurance trained individuals.
BP responses to a cold pressor test, isometric handgrip exercise and postexercise muscle ischaemia were used to assess sympathetic reactivity. Two-dimensional echocardiography was used to assess resting left ventricular structure and function, and carotid-to-femoral pulse wave velocity for central arterial stiffness. Calf vascular conductance was measured at rest and peak postexercise using strain-gauge plethysmography.
In both groups, sympathetic reactivity, left ventricular and arterial stiffness indices were all similar. There was also no difference in resting vascular conductance between the two groups. On the other hand, EBP+ had a higher peak vascular conductance than EBP‒ (1.81±0.65 vs 1.45±0.32 ml/100 ml/min/mm Hg; p<0.05).
“EBP was defined as a maximal systolic blood pressure at least 190 mm Hg and at least 210 mm Hg for women and men, respectively, in response to a graded exercise test,” researchers explained.
“Untrained individuals with EBP responses to graded exercise testing are characterized as having resting dysfunction of the sympathetic and cardiovascular systems,” they added.