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J Hum Hypertens. 2000 Apr;14(4):243-7.

Arterial hypotension: prevalence of low blood pressure in the general population using ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.

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Blood Pressure Unit, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, Ireland.



Chronic constitutional hypotension has been described in a proportion of the population, and has a symptom complex ascribed to it. The true prevalence of low blood pressure in the normal population has not been defined.


This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of low blood pressure states, as measured using ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, in a general population cohort, and to determine the association between low blood pressure and clinical and demographic variables.


The population enrolled were a cohort of mainly urban dwelling Irish subjects, either employees or spouses of employees of a major national bank.


Subjects had an ambulatory blood pressure monitor fitted between 09.00 and 12.00 and wore the monitor for 24 hours. The subjects also filled out a detailed lifestyle questionnaire, and kept an activity diary. Blood was drawn for serum electrolyte estimation.


A total of 254 subjects were included, 49% of whom demonstrated hypotensive events. Hypotensive means and individual hypotensive values were more frequently found in women, and occurred in a group of individuals with a distinct body habitus, specifically thin subjects, with a lower creatinine suggesting a smaller muscle mass. Hypotensive events in these subjects were associated with a low risk cardiovascular profile, in that subjects who displayed these events had a lower blood pressure, a lower weight and were less likely to have a positive family history of hypertension or vascular disease.


Hypotension is common in the general population and is associated with a distinct body habitus. It carries a generally benign cardiovascular risk factor profile.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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