Systemic arterial hypertension (SAH) is the most common disease in industrialized and developing countries. With aging, the prevalence of systemic arterial hypertension increases, affecting 58% of women and 53% of men ≥ 65 years old in the USA. SAH is the major factor in the development of cardiovascular disease, such as left ventricular hypertrophy and endothelial dysfunction, thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular-related deaths.
Some authors have correlated an increase in blood pressure levels with an increase in circulating levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and C-reactive protein (CRP), although the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Besides that, hypertensive patients exhibit impairment in anti-inflammatory cytokines such as plasma adiponectin when compared with normotensive individuals. Furthermore, systemic arterial hypertension stimulates the production of adhesion molecules.
Aging enhances the risk for SAH and promotes loss of muscle mass. Such loss of strength can decrease independence, and is the major cause of falls and injuries in this age group. Nevertheless, the elderly maintain muscular plasticity, which is a favorable feature in the recovery of muscle mass and muscle strength when the elderly engage in resistance training.
The importance of aerobic exercise is well known as a tool in the non-pharmacologic treatment of systemic arterial hypertension, thus data concerning blood pressure and pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines after periods of resistance training in hypertensive elderly are limited and controversial.