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A single session of aerobic exercise reduces systolic blood pressure at rest and in response to stress in women with rheumatoid arthritis and hypertension.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune inflammatory disease characterized by increased risk of cardiovascular disease and hypertension (HT). A single session of aerobic exercise may reduce blood pressure (BP) in different clinical groups; however, little is known about the acute effects of exercise on BP in RA patients. This is a randomized controlled crossover study that assessed the effects of a single session of aerobic exercise on resting BP, on BP responses to stressful stimuli, and on 24-h BP in women with RA and HT. Twenty women with RA and HT (53 ± 10 years) undertook sessions of 30-min treadmill exercise (50% VO2max ) or control (no exercise) in a crossover fashion. Before and after the sessions, BP was measured at rest, and in response to the Stroop-Color Word Test (SCWT), the Cold Pressor Test (CPT), and an isometric handgrip test. After the sessions, participants were also fitted with an ambulatory BP monitor for the assessment of 24-h BP. A single session of exercise reduced resting systolic BP (SBP) (-5 ± 9 mmHg; p < 0.05), and reduced SBP response to the SCWT (-7 ± 14 mmHg; p < 0.05), and to the CPT (-5 ± 11 mmHg; p < 0.05). Exercise did not reduce resting diastolic BP (DBP), BP responses to the isometric handgrip test or 24-h BP. In conclusion, a single session of aerobic exercise reduced SBP at rest and in response to stressful stimuli in hypertensive women with RA. These results support the use of exercise as a strategy for controlling HT and, hence, reducing cardiovascular risk in women with RA.Clinical Trial Registration: This study registered at the Brazilian Clinical Trials ( https://ensaiosclinicos.gov.br/rg/RBR-867k9g ) at 12/13/2019.

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