Objective : An exaggerated exercise SBP, which is potentially modifiable, may be associated with incident depressive symptoms via an increased pulsatile pressure load on the brain. However, the association between exaggerated exercise SBP and incident depressive symptoms is unknown. Therefore, we examined whether exaggerated exercise SBP is associated with a higher risk of depressive symptoms over time. Methods : We used longitudinal data from the population-based Maastricht Study, with only individuals free of depressive symptoms at baseline included (n = 2121; 51.3% men; age 59.5 +/- 8.5 years). Exercise SBP was measured at baseline with a submaximal exercise cycle test. We calculated a composite score of exercise SBP based on four standardized exercise SBP measures: SBP at moderate workload, SBP at peak exercise, SBP change per minute during exercise and SBP 4 min after exercise. Clinically relevant depressive symptoms were determined annually at follow-up and defined as a Patient Health Questionnaire score of at least 10. Results : After a mean follow-up of 3.9 years, 175 participants (8.3%) had incident clinically relevant depressive symptoms. A 1 SD higher exercise SBP composite score was associated with a higher incidence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms [hazard ratio: 1.27 (95% confidence interval: 1.04-1.54)]. Results were adjusted for age, sex, education level, glucose metabolism status, lifestyle, cardiovascular risk factors, resting SBP and cardiorespiratory fitness. Conclusion : A higher exercise SBP response is associated with a higher incidence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-502
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021


  • blood pressure
  • depression
  • exercise
  • prognosis
  • screening

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