Background: Genetic and environmental hypotheses may explain why normotensive persons at high risk of developing hypertension often exhibit greater cardiovascular reactivity to stressors than those at low risk.
Methods: Pearson’s correlation was used to evaluate reproducibility and independent t test to compare the cardiovascular responses to 30 W of exercise of normotensive young adult African-American women with positive and negative parental histories (PH) of hypertension (PH+, n = 23; PH−, n = 20).
Results: Correlations were significant for duplicate measurements. The effects of PH on blood pressure measured at rest and during exercise were not statistically significant (P > 0.1). A nearly significant trend for greater resting V̇O2 (P = 0.08) was detected in the PH− than in the PH+ group (3.67 ± 0.18 versus 3.26 ± 0.14 mL/kg/min).
Conclusion: A hyper-reactive blood pressure response to exercise, characteristic of the evolution of hypertension, may not be present among the normotensive female offspring of hypertensive African Americans. The significance of an 11% intergroup difference in the mean resting V̇O2 observed in this study is unclear.