Autonomic responses of women with parental hypertension. Effects of physical activity and fitness.
We studied the moderating effects of cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity on heart rate and blood pressure responses to psychophysiological stressors and the carotid-cardiac baroreflex in young normotensive women with a parental history of hypertension (n = 31). Testing occurred during the follicular menstrual phase. Subjects were divided into high versus moderate (46.6 +/- 6.5 versus 35.9 +/- 1.9 mL.kg-1.min-1) VO2peak and high versus moderate (1217.7 +/- 98.4 versus 1015.5 +/- 49.4 J.kg-1.wk-1) physical activity groups. The groups did not differ in heart rate or blood pressure responses to mental arithmetic or the cold-face test. However, the highly fit women had longer maximal R-R intervals compared with the moderately fit women when the carotid-cardiac baroreflex was stimulated by negative pressures applied to the neck during resting conditions (P < .01). The carotid-cardiac baroreflex was attenuated during mental arithmetic compared with rest in both the moderately fit and moderately active women but not in the highly fit and highly active groups. We find no evidence that aerobic fitness reduces sympathetic responses to laboratory stressors in young women with parental hypertension. Our findings are consistent with greater parasympathetic tone during sympathetic challenge for the highly fit and highly active subjects. Clarification of autonomic balance during carotid baroreflex stimulation at rest and during sympathetic challenge after exercise training would provide important information regarding mechanisms that regulate cardiovascular responses to autonomic challenge in women at risk for hypertension.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association