Arterial stiffness and blood pressure in elite athletes: a cross-sectional study

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Introduction The positive effects of physical activity in a recreational setting on blood pressure (BP) and arterial stiffness (AS) were examined manifoldly. But, in the context of competitive sports AS is widely unexplored. This study aimed to determine the chronic effects of endurance and strength dominated training of elite athletes on AS and BP. Methods 21 middle- and long-distance runners (R) (9 female) and 22 athletes of strength dominated sports (S) (11 female) who were all part of the German elite (A, B or C) squad system participated in the study. 30 subjects (14 female) served as controls (C). All participants were of equal age (22.78±2.06 years). After 10 minutes of rest pulse wave velocity (PWV), augmentation index at a heart rate of 75 bpm (AIx@75), peripheral (BPsys/BPdia) and central BP (cBPsys/cBPdia) were measured using Mobil-O-Graph (IBM, Germany) (Franssen & Imholz, 2010). Results BPsys and cBPsys were lower in R compared to S and C (p< .05). BPdia and cBPdia showed no differences between the groups. PWV was lower in R compared to S and C (p< .05). AIx@75 was lower in R compared to C (p< .05) but not different to S and AIx@75 of S was lower to C (p< .05). Discussion The results support previous findings, which are a lower BPsys and cBPsys accompanied by a lower AS in elite R. Chronic endurance training leads to a well-established arterial compliance and a higher arterial flexibility (Müller et al., 2015). In the present study, elite S show no negative values in BP and AS since no difference is observed to C. It is important to notice that no weightlifters were recruited, who possibly exhibit higher BP and AS.
Original languageGerman
JournalDie medizinische Welt
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)A16
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017