Circadian blood pressure variations under different pathophysiological conditions

J Hypertens Suppl. 1990 Dec;8(7):S125-32.


The daily variation in blood pressure (circadian blood pressure rhythm) is characterized by a nocturnal fall and a diurnal rise. The circadian blood pressure rhythm seems to be mediated mainly by the circadian rhythm of sympathetic tone, linked to changes in physical and mental activities, e.g. the waking-sleeping cycle. Statistically significant circadian blood pressure rhythms have been confirmed in approximately 80% of mild to moderate essential hypertensive patients as well as in normal subjects. However, the normal pattern of circadian blood pressure rhythm is reversed in elderly people and in those with Cushing's syndrome, those undergoing glucocorticoid treatment, and those with hyperthyroidism, central and/or peripheral autonomic dysfunction (Shy-Drager syndrome, tetraplegia, diabetic or uremic neuropathy, etc), chronic renal failure, renal or cardiac transplantation, congestive heart failure, eclampsia, sleep apnea syndrome, malignant hypertension, systemic atherosclerosis and accelerated hypertensive organ damage. However, in those with primary aldosteronism, renovascular hypertension, pheochromocytoma without paroxysmal hypertension, or those with cardiac pacing, a nocturnal blood pressure fall is ordinarily observed. It may be that a fall in cardiac output rather than in peripheral resistance may be mainly responsible for the nocturnal fall in blood pressure. It also seems that a nocturnal heart rate fall is not responsible for it, since the nocturnal blood pressure fall remained unchanged in patients undergoing cardiac pacing and was disturbed in patients with Cushing's syndrome or hyperthyroidism in whom the circadian heart rate rhythm remained unchanged.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autonomic Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Blood Pressure Monitors
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Endocrine System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Kidney Diseases / physiopathology
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Vascular Diseases / physiopathology