Cardiovascular Reactivity to Work Stress Predicts Subsequent Onset of Hypertension: The Air Traffic Controller Health Change Study : Psychosomatic Medicine

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Cardiovascular Reactivity to Work Stress Predicts Subsequent Onset of Hypertension: The Air Traffic Controller Health Change Study

Ming, Eileen E. ScD, MPH; Adler, Gail K. MD, PhD; Kessler, Ronald C. PhD; Fogg, Louis F. PhD; Matthews, Karen A. PhD; Herd, J. Alan MD; Rose, Robert M. MD

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Psychosomatic Medicine 66(4):p 459-465, July 2004. | DOI: 10.1097/01.psy.0000132872.71870.6d

Abstract

Objective: 

The hypothesis that increased blood pressure reactivity to stress is an early risk marker of hypertension was tested in a 1994 follow-up of the 1974 to 1978 Air Traffic Controller Health Change Study sample.

Methods: 

Assessments in 1974 to 1978 included physical examinations and recordings (every 20 minutes for 5 hours) of both workload (planes within controller airspace) and blood pressure reactivity. Individual differences in reactivity were used to predict 1994 self-report of ever having been told by a physician to take antihypertensive medication, assessed in a telephone survey of 218 respondents who were normotensive or stage 1 hypertensive in 1974 to 1978.

Results: 

Each SD increase in baseline systolic reactivity was associated with a 1.7 (p < .019) increase in the relative-odds of 1994 hypertension, after controlling for age, body mass index, and clinic systolic and diastolic blood pressure at clinical examination, with effects comparable for baseline normotensives and stage 1 hypertensives.

Conclusion: 

A 20-year follow-up of originally normotensive and stage I hypertensive workers suggests that increased systolic blood pressure reactivity to work stress is associated with long-term risk of hypertension.

Copyright © 2004 by American Psychosomatic Society

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