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Pet ownership, but not ACE inhibitor therapy, blunts home blood pressure responses to mental stress

By K. Allen, B. E. Shykoff, J. L. Izzo

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In the present study, we evaluated the effect of a nonevaluative social support intervention (pet ownership) on blood pressure response to mental stress before and during ACE inhibitor therapy. Forty-eight hypertensive individuals participated in an experiment at home and in the physician’s office. Participants were randomized to an experimental group with assignment of pet ownership in addition to lisinopril (20 mg/d) or to a control group with only lisinopril (20 mg/d). On each study day, blood pressure, heart rate, and plasma renin activity were recorded at baseline and after each mental stressor (serial subtraction and speech). Before drug therapy, mean responses to mental stress did not differ significantly between experimental and control groups in heart rate (94 [SD 6.8] versus 93 [6.8] bpm), systolic blood pressure (182 [8.0] versus 181 [8.3] mm Hg), diastolic blood pressure (120 [6.6] versus 119 [7.9] mm Hg), or plasma renin activity (9.4 [0.59] versus 9.3 [0.57] ng · mL−1· h−1). Lisinopril therapy lowered resting blood pressure by ≈35/20 mm Hg in both groups, but responses to mental stress were significantly lower among pet owners relative to those who only received lisinopril (P<0.0001; heart rate 81 [6.3] versus 91 [6.5] bpm, systolic blood pressure 131 [6.8] versus 141 [7.8] mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure 92 [6.3] versus 100 [6.8] mm Hg, and plasma renin activity 13.9 [0.92] versus 16.1 [0.58] ng · mL−1 · h−1). We conclude that ACE inhibitor therapy alone lowers resting blood pressure, whereas increased social support through pet ownership lowers blood pressure response to mental stress.

Date 2001
Publication Title Hypertension
Volume 38
Issue 4
Pages 815-20
ISBN/ISSN 1524-4563 (Electronic)0194-911X (Linking)
Language English
Author Address Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, USA.
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Analysis
  2. Blood
  3. Blood Pressure
  4. Cardiovascular health
  5. Domestic animals
  6. Females
  7. Heart
  8. Heart rate
  9. Hormones
  10. Humans
  11. Hypertension
  12. Males
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Psychological stress
  15. time
  16. Treatment outcomes
  1. peer-reviewed