Increasing evidence views hypertension as a stress-induced disorder. Stressors must be “gated” by the brain before any inflammatory or immune processes that contribute to hypertension are initiated. No studies were found that examined sensory gating in relation to hypertension.
The aim of the study was to determine if disturbances in self-reported sensory gating could differentiate normotensive from hypertensive young adults.
A nonmatched, case–control design was used. We administered an online survey to 163 young adult participants. Participants were predominantly female, in their mid-20s, well educated, and approximately evenly distributed by race and hypertension status. The Sensory Gating Inventory (SGI) measured gating disturbances.
The mean SGI scores were significantly higher among persons diagnosed with hypertension, reflecting a moderate effect size of sensory gating. After adjusting for confounders, however, the normotensive and hypertensive groups were not significantly different on their SGI scores.
With an observed moderate effect size of 0.35, but low power, more research is warranted regarding the role of gating disturbances in the development of stress-induced hypertension. Clinically, the SGI may be important for screening patients who would benefit from ambulatory blood pressure monitoring to identify persons with masked hypertension.