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Although hypertension has been shown to be one of the most important risk factors for atherosclerosis, data about the presence of subclinical atherosclerosis in normotensive offspring with parental history of hypertension are scarce. Accordingly, the current study was designated to evaluate flow-mediated dilatation and aortic stiffness, which are early signs of atherosclerosis in young subjects with parental history of hypertension.
A total of 102 healthy, non-obese subjects in the age group of 18–22 years were included in this study and divided into two groups. The first group included 70 offspring of hypertensive parents and the second group included 70 offspring of normotensive parents as controls. In all subjects, endothelium-dependent and endothelium-independent vasodilatation of the brachial artery and aortic elastic parameters were investigated using high-resolution Doppler echocardiography.
Offspring of hypertensive parents demonstrated higher values of aortic stiffness (7.1 plus or minus 1.88 and 6.42 plus or minus 1.56, respectively) but lower distensibility (9.47 plus or minus 1.33 and 11.8 plus or minus 3.36 square centimetres per dyne per 106) and flow-mediated dilatation (4.57 plus or minus 1.3 versus 6.34 plus or minus 0.83 percent, p equals 0.0001, respectively) than offspring of hypertensive parents.
We observed blunted endothelium-dependent dilatation and aortic stiffness in offspring of hypertensive parents compared with offspring of hypertensive parents. This is evident in the absence of overt hypertension and other diseases, suggesting that parental history of hypertension is a risk for subclinical atherosclerosis and it may contribute to the progression to hypertension and overt atherosclerosis in later life.
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