American Journal of Epidemiology vol:136 issue:4 pages:450-9
This cross-sectional study investigated whether the technique of blood pressure measurement used (conventional sphygmomanometry vs. ambulatory monitoring) affects the relation between blood pressure and both age and body mass index. Two independent data sets were analyzed. The first comprised 328 subjects (48% men) drawn from the population of a small Belgian town, and the second comprised 776 Irish bank employees (51% men). Age ranged from 17 years to 81 years, and body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2) ranged from 16.6 to 40.2. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory blood pressure was lower than blood pressure measured by a nurse in both the Belgian population sample (118/71 mmHg vs. 122/73 mmHg) and the Irish employees (118/72 mmHg vs. 119/76 mmHg). When blood pressure was measured by an observer, the well-established relations between systolic and diastolic blood pressure and both age and body mass index were evident. When the analyses were repeated using 24-hour measurements, the increment (cross-sectionally assessed) in blood pressure with age was weaker, especially in young and middle-aged subjects (20-60 years), while the increase in blood pressure with body mass index was also reduced. The within-subject differences between the conventional and ambulatory blood pressure measurements increased with older age and greater body mass index. Several other relations with blood pressure as the response variable may require revision in light of the present findings.