Sex differences in pulse pressure trends with age are cross-cultural

Joan H. Skurnick, Mordechay Aladjem, Abraham Aviv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Sex differences in systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and trends with age have been consistently observed in both industrialized and unindustrialized populations. However, the impact of sex on pulse pressure, an index of vascular aging, in unindustrialized populations has not been addressed. The objective of this report was to characterize sex differences in aging trends of pulse pressure within unindustrialized populations. Using PubMed and Medline, we identified 60 articles with blood pressure data from unacculturated or partially acculturated populations. Data on 27 populations from 22 articles were included for analysis, on the basis of adequate description of study design and blood pressure measurement. Blood pressure means of adult age groups were modeled by linear and polynomial regression. The pulse pressure levels of women were lower than those of men in early adulthood and higher in older ages. Women had a steeper, steady increase in pulse pressure with age than men (P<0.001), whereas men had a stronger curvilinear upswing in pulse pressure with age (P=0.006). Partially acculturated populations had higher pulse pressures than unacculturated populations. Sex had a stronger effect on pulse pressure than acculturation. Pulse pressure trajectories of unindustrialized populations were slightly attenuated compared with those seen in National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys III and IV of the US population. A sex effect on pulse pressure trends with age prevails across unacculturated and acculturated populations. Accordingly, the biological principles of arterial aging, as expressed in pulse pressure, are the same in all humans, regardless of demography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Aging
  • Blood pressure
  • Humans
  • Hypertension
  • Sex factors


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