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Blood Press Monit. 2018 Aug;23(4):185-190. doi: 10.1097/MBP.0000000000000325.

The influence of resting blood pressure on muscle strength in healthy adults.

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Department of Kinesiology.
Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention and Policy.
Department of Cardiology, Henry Low Heart Center, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut, USA.
School of Pharmacy, University of Connecticut, Storrs.


Adverse alterations in the skeletal muscle response to exercise have been noted among adults with hypertension. The influence of resting blood pressure (BP) on muscle strength is unknown. We hypothesized that adults with high BP would exhibit lower muscular strength than adults with normal BP. An isokinetic dynamometer tested 21 measures of isometric and isokinetic muscle strength. BP was measured by auscultation. Patients were categorized into having normal (<120 and <80 mmHg) or high (≥120 and/or ≥80 mmHg) BP. Height (cm) and weight (kg) were measured to calculate BMI (kg/m). Analysis of covariance tested differences in muscle strength between BP groups with sex, age, and height as covariates. Patients [420 (49%) men] were middle-aged (44.1±16.1 years) and overweight (26.4±4.8 kg/m) with 187 having normal (107.7±7.3/68.3±6.3 mmHg) and 233 having high (127.8±9.8/80.8±8.1 mmHg) BP. For upper body, three of five extension measures and five of five flexion measures, as well as handgrip, were greater in the high than the normal BP group (P≤0.05). For lower body, five of five extension measures were greater in the high than the normal BP group, whereas there were no differences between BP groups for the five flexion measures (P>0.05). Contrary to our hypothesis, adults with high BP displayed greater muscle strength than adults with normal BP. Reasons for our findings are unclear, but may be because of shifts in muscle fiber type from type I to type IIb/x and oxidative to glycolytic metabolism; alterations may result in a more strength-adapted phenotype among adults with high BP such as we observed.

[Available on 2019-08-01]

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