The circadian blood pressure rhythm was compared in patients with Cushing's syndrome, essential hypertension, and primary aldosteronism. In patients with essential hypertension or primary aldosteronism, a clear nocturnal fall in systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate was observed. This fall was seen in untreated subjects as well as in patients receiving combined treatment with a calcium antagonist, diuretic, converting enzyme inhibitor, α-blocker and β-blocker, or sympatholytic drug . In these groups, there was a positive correlation between the heart rate and systolic or diastolic blood pressure. On the other hand, in patients with Cushing's syndrome, there was no nocturnal fall in blood pressure but in some patients a rise was observed. In all patients there was a nocturnal fall in heart rate. Thus, there was no significant correlation between heart rate and blood pressure in these patients. Exogenous glucocorticoid eliminated the normal nocturnal fall in blood pressure in patients with chronic glomerulonephritis or systemic lupus erythematosus. These results suggest that the changed circadian blood pressure pattern in patients with Cushing's syndrome is not due to antihypertensive treatment or to the mineralocorticoid excess accompanying this disease, but it is attributed to excess glucocorticoid or the associated disturbance in the adrenocortiocotropic hormone-glucocorticoid system (or both). This conclusion also implies that the normal circadian rhythm of blood pressure may be regulated at least in part by the adrenocorticotropic hormone-glucocorticoid system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine