Race and gender influence ambulatory blood pressure patterns of adolescents

Gregory A. Harshfield, Bruce S. Alpert, Elaine S. Willey, Grant W. Somes, Joseph K. Murphy, Lynn M. Dupaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine ambulatory blood pressure and heart rate patterns in healthy, normotensive adolescents and to determine the influence of race and gender on these patterns. Ambulatory blood pressure recordings were performed on 199 adolescents; 42 were black males, 55 were white males, 65 were black females, and 37 were white females. The mean age (±SD) was 13±2 years. Blood pressure readings were obtained with an automatic, noninvasive recorder. Black adolescents and white adolescents had similar blood pressures while awake (116/69 vs. 116/69 mm Hg), with boys having higher levels of systolic blood pressure (118 vs. 114 mm Hg) and comparable levels of diastolic blood pressure (69 vs. 69 mm Hg) relative to girls. The patterns while the adolescents were asleep, however, were different. White boys (106 mm Hg), white girls (105 mm Hg), and black girls (105 mm Hg) had similar systolic blood pressures during sleep. Black boys (112 mm Hg), however, had significantly higher systolic blood pressures while asleep. Black adolescents, as a group, had significantly higher diastolic blood pressures than white adolescents while asleep (64 vs. 61 mm Hg). Changes in blood pressure from awake to asleep were not related to changes in heart rate. Results of this study indicate that both race and gender are important determinants of the diurnal pattern of blood pressure and heart rate in adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-613
Number of pages16
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1989


  • Adolescents
  • Ambulatory blood pressure
  • Essential hypertension
  • Ethnic differences
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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