Mental Stress Testing in the Physician’s Office and in the Field
Simple mental stress tests were performed in the laboratory, the physician’s office, and at the worksite in adults and children. The average blood pressure increases seen in children during a simple mental arithmetic task were similar in all three conditions. In hypertensive middle aged male executives, free of medication, similar blood pressure levels were attained during video task performance at the worksite and mental arithmetic in the laboratory. However, resting blood pressures were higher at the worksite. Hence, hyperreactivity to mental challenge in patients with mild hypertension was not observed during performance of a video game at the worksite. When mental stress testing in the physician’s office was repeated, test-retest correlations of r=.79 for systolic blood pressure and r=.87 for diastolic blood pressure (p.001) were recorded. These indicate that blood pressure reactivity is highly reproducible and might well be applied in the early diagnosis and the management of hypertension.
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