To clarify whether somatic complaints in healthy normotensive men are associated with differential 24-hour blood pressure and heart rate measures.
Twenty-four-hour ambulatory systolic and diastolic blood pressure was monitored in 114 healthy normotensive men, aged 28 to 63 years, engaged in similar physical work. Means were calculated for each hour, for the whole 24-hour period, and for daytime, nighttime, and work time. Subjects were interviewed about somatic complaints, demographic data, and health habits, and body mass index was measured.
After controlling for possible confounders, a positive association was found between the somatic complaint score and 24-hour, diurnal, and work-time systolic blood pressure (p = .014, p = .007, and p = .008, respectively). The association with casual systolic blood pressure was of borderline significance (p = .089). There was a positive trend, which did not reach statistical significance, in the relationship between somatic complaint score and all measures of diastolic blood pressure. Diurnal, 24-hour, and work-time heart rates were highest in the subjects with the highest somatic scores (p < .01 for all trends).
In healthy normotensive men, somatic complaints are associated with an increased cardiovascular load. The effects of this increase on long-term cardiovascular morbidity and mortality are uncertain and warrant additional study.