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In what is being called the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have linked blood pressure (BP) reactivity and coronary artery calcification (CAC). The authors of the study noted a longstanding hypothesis that patients who are prone to frequent, large increases in BP during psychological stress are at risk for developing coronary atherosclerosis. Based on this hypothesis, the researchers studied 2816 women, both Caucasian and African American, aged 20 to 35 years, who were not taking any medicines to treat either diabetes or hypertension. The researchers tried to link BP activity and CAC in these patients. They calculated that, for every 10-mm Hg rise of BP in the reactivity test at baseline, a 24% increased risk of CAC was observed 13 years later.
Based upon these findings, the researchers suggest that "BP reactivity protocols should be added to the future epidemiological protocols to?evaluate the role of BP reactivity in coronary atheroclerosis." The findings were published in the March 2006 edition of Hypertension.