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Hemodynamic responses to mental stress during salt loading

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PURPOSE: The purpose was to examine whether prolonged moderate stress associated with a student exam would increase the blood pressure response to a salt load in young healthy normotensive individuals.

METHODS: Ten healthy young subjects were examined at two different occasions in random order (i) during preparation for a medical exam (prolonged stress) and (ii) outside the exam period (low stress). All subjects consumed a controlled diet for 3 days with low- or high-salt content in randomized order. The subjective stress was measured by Spielberger's State-Trait Anxiety Inventory-Scale, SCL Symptom Checklist for stress and the Visual Analogue Scale. On each level of stress, 24-h ambulatory blood pressure and cardiac output (CO) were measured. Furthermore, plasma norepinephrine (NE), epinephrine (E) and plasma renin activity (PRA) were measured.

RESULTS: Twenty-four-hour ABP, 24-h heart rate, CO as well as plasma levels of NE, E and PRA remained unchanged by changes in stress level. Day-night reduction in SAP was significantly larger during moderate stress and high-salt intake; however, no significant difference was observed during daytime and night-time. Individual increase in mental stress correlated significantly with an individual decrease in PRA (SCL-17, r = -0·80, P<0·05, STAIr = -0·64 P<0·05) during high-salt intake.

CONCLUSION: Moderate stress over a period of time in young healthy normotensive individuals does not lead to changes in 24-h ABP. However, the augmented reduction in day-to-night systolic blood pressure during high-salt intake and moderate stress may indicate that stress affects blood pressure regulation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Physiology and Functional Imaging
Volume37
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)688-694
ISSN1475-0961
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

ID: 49001764