Carotid Blood Pressure Reactivity is Associated with Carotid Intima-media Thickness Independent of Central Adiposity


Spartano, N., Augustine, J., Lefferts, W., Hughes, W., Morse, B., Martin, E., Bill, K., Gump, B., Heffernan, K., Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

Purpose: Blood pressure (BP) reactivity in response to mental stress increases with age and contributes to vascular damage, manifesting as increased carotid intima-media thickness (IMT). Individuals with higher levels of central adiposity may be more reactive to stress, which may exaggerate age-associated BP reactivity, thus further damaging the artery wall. Whether higher central adiposity is associated with higher carotid BP reactivity to mental stress, in non-obese individuals, remains unexplored. The purpose of this study was to examine central adiposity as a moderator of the relation between carotid BP reactivity in response to mental stress and carotid IMT. Methods: Healthy young and middle aged adults (n=26, mean age 38±13, BMI≤30) without history of hypertension completed a color-word interference mental stress task. Carotid IMT was determined at rest, using ultrasonography. Applanation tonometry was performed on the carotid artery and used to measure carotid systolic BP at rest and during the 4-minute mental stress task. Carotid systolic (S)BP reactivity was determined as the difference between mean BP during mental stress minus resting BP. Central adiposity was determined by measuring waist circumference (WC) with a tape measure immediately above the iliac crest. Results: Carotid IMT was associated with age (r=0.651, pConclusion:Advancing age is associated with exaggerated carotid SBP response to mental stress and greater carotid IMT. Increased pressure in the carotid artery, triggered by mental stress, may damage the artery wall over time. This process may not be affected by central adiposity in non-obese, young and middle aged adults.

Research funded by Dairy Research Institute Grant1154 and NIH R01 Grant HL109091

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