Cardiovascular reactivity in healthy subjects with variations in body mass index

Document Type



Biomedical Sciences (East Africa)


Background: Overweight and obesity are on the rise in Africa and might attain epidemic proportion in the near future.

Objective: To assess and compare the cardiovascular reactivity to cold pressor test (CPT) in subjects with variations in body mass index (BMI).

Methods: Forty- five apparently healthy subjects, aged 18 to 38 years, were divided into normal weight (NW), overweight (OW) and obese (OB) groups based on their BMI. Heart rate (HR), systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) were determined at rest and after exposure to CPT in all the study groups. The total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglyceride (TG) in relation to the subjects' BMI values were also determined.

Results: The basal values of HR, SBP and DBP of the subjects in all the study groups were not statistically significant (p > 0.05). However, the HR, SBP and DBP were significantly increased (p < 0.05) in all the groups after exposure to CPT. The magnitude of the cardiovascular responses differed across the study groups, SBP being significantly less (p < 0.05) in obese group when compared with that of the normal. The TC, LDL, HDL and TG were similar (p>0.05) in all the groups even though these values except HDL, were found to be highest in the obese group.

Conclusion: The study has shown cardiovascular autonomic reactivity to CPT in subjects with variations in BMI values and the magnitude of the responses was observed to be less in obese group when compared with that of the normal, signifying cardiac autonomic dysfunction in this group of subjects.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Nigerian quarterly journal of hospital medicine