Blood Pressure Test Might Affect Sleep, Findings

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December 17, 2009

An ambulatory blood pressure monitoring test that is used to measure changes in blood pressure from daytime to nighttime might actually interfere with sleep, affecting the test's findings, according to a study in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology . Researchers followed 103 patients with kidney disease who were undergoing the test and discovered they had increased activity levels at night because the blood pressure monitor interfered with sleep. Typically people experience a dip in blood pressure during sleep, but the study found patients undergoing the test were 10 times less likely to experience the dip. Rajiv Agarwal, a doctor at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Indianapolis who analyzed the findings, said in a press release, "Blood pressure measured during sleep correlates better with heart attacks and strokes compared to blood pressure measured in the doctor's office," adding, "However, if blood pressure measurement disturbs sleep, then it may weaken the relationship between 'sleeping BP' and these cardiovascular events."