A quantitative analysis of the effects of activity and time of day on the diurnal variations of blood pressure

L. A. Clark, L. Denby, D. Pregibon, G. A. Harshfield, T. G. Pickering, S. Blank, J. H. Laragh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


The effects of activity and time of day on blood pressure (BP) were analyzed in 461 patients with untreated hypertension who wore a noninvasive portable BP recorder which took readings every 15 minutes for 24 hours. Patients recorded activity and location in a diary. The data were analyzed separately for two groups of patients: the 190 who stayed at home and the 271 who went to work. The effects of 16 different activities on BP were estimated by relating the BP to the associated activity and to the individual's clinic BP. Blood pressure was higher at work than at home, but the increment of BP for individual activities was similar in the two locations. The overall effect of activities on BP variability was computed using a one-way analysis of covariance model. For the patients who went to work this model accounted for 40% of the observed variation (R2) for systolic and 39% for diastolic BP. A similar model using time of day instead of activity accounted for 33% of variability in both systolic and diastolic BP. Combining activity and time of day was little better than activity alone (41% for both). After allowing for the effects of activity on BP, where sleep is one of the activities, there was no significant diurnal variation of BP. We conclude that there is no important circadian rhythm of BP which is independent of activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-681
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chronic Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambulatory monitoring
  • Circadian rhythms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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