A relation between blood pressure and stiffness of joints and skin

Cuno S P M Uiterwaal, Diederick E Grobbee, Ralph J B Sakkers, Paul J M Helders, Ruud A Bank, Raoul H H Engelbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Blood pressure, particularly pulse pressure, is associated with arterial wall stiffness, but little is known about its relation to stiffness of other parts of the body. We examined the extent to which blood pressure levels in young healthy children are related to stiffness of various tissues.

METHODS: In November 2000, we studied 95 healthy prepubertal children (41 boys and 54 girls, within age range 8-10 years) from two primary schools in the city of Zeist, The Netherlands. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure and pulse pressure were analyzed in relation to various tissue indicators of stiffness, including active joint mobility and skin extensibility. All results were adjusted for age, sex, body height, body weight and muscle strength as possible confounders.

RESULTS: Diastolic blood pressure was lower with increased active joint mobility (multivariate generalized linear regression coefficient = -4.5 mmHg per standard deviation [SD] joint mobility; 95% confidence interval [CI] = -7.8 to -1.2). Pulse pressure was lower with increased skin extensibility (-3.2 mmHg per SD skin extensibility; CI = -5.2 to -1.1), through a higher diastolic blood pressure (2.0 mmHg per SD skin extensibility; CI = 0.2-3.9) and possibly lower systolic blood pressure (-0.8 mmHg per SD skin extensibility; CI = -3.5 to 1.9). These associations were mutually independent. Additional adjustment for reported musculoskeletal problems or physical activity levels did not materially change the findings.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the hypothesis that constitutional stiffness of body tissues may be associated with blood pressure levels and eventually cardiovascular risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-7
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2003

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