Blood pressures in subjects for life assurance medical examination and the effect of ten minutes recumbent rest

Background: The prevalence of hypertension in a population is the sum of those individuals with a blood pressure (BP) exceeding 140/90 mm Hg plus those with normal BP on antihypertensive therapy (this is usually about 20–30% of the population). Rest normally reduces BP but the frequency and extent of the fall remains unclear.

Methods: This study analysed the results of 1,008 consecutive life assurance examinations in which BP was recorded twice, before and after a ten minute period of recumbent rest.