Chronic distress and acute vascular stress responses associated with ambulatory blood pressure in low-testosterone African men: the SABPA Study

Nicholaas Theodore Malan, Tobias Stalder, Markus Peter Schlaich, Gavin William Lambert, Mark Hamer, Aletta Elisabeth Schutte, Hugo Willem Huisman, Rudolph Schutte, Wayne A Smith, Catharina M Mels, Johannes M van Rooyen, Leone Malan

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It is known that low testosterone (T) and high cortisol levels are associated with hypertension as well as with chronic stress, linking stress with elevated blood pressure (BP). However, the association between acute stress-, chronic stress responses and BP is not clear in Africans. Therefore, we examined the association between cortisol, psychological distress and BP responses in low- and high-T male subgroups. Beat-to-beat and ambulatory blood pressure (ABPM) and electrocardiogram measures were obtained. Serum samples were collected and analyzed for sex hormones and cortisol. Chronic psychological distress was verified with the General Health Questionnaire and acute stress with the cold pressor test. More chronic psychological distress was observed in both low- and high-T Africans compared with the Caucasians. The low-T Africans tended to have more ischemic events (P=0.06) and ABPM values (P=0.01) than any of the other groups. Both chronic distress (cortisol) and acute stress (total peripheral resistance cold pressor responses) were associated with ABPM in the low-T African group. Acute and chronic stress may contribute to increased BP in low-T African men. Their cortisol and vascular responses supported a tendency for ischemia, increasing their risk for coronary artery disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393 - 398
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Human Hypertension
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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