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Young Adults, Do Not Ignore High Blood Pressure!

Posted Sep 11 2008 2:14am
Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a disease that is not limited to only aging population. Evidence does show that there is significant number of young adults develop hypertension before the age of 35. In addition, one should not ignore the fact that a hypertensive (a person who has hypertension) is subject to a higher risk of getting heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, etc.

A recent study suggested that young adults with high blood pressure have raised their risk of developing plaque on the lining of their blood vessels, even if the blood pressure is closed to normal. The building of plaque is known as Atherosclerosis.

Accumulation of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood can lead to formation of plaque. Over time, plaque may cause the arteries to become harder and narrower. This may reduce the flow of oxygen-rich blood to various organs and other parts of the body. Once this happens, serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death may be resulted.

In order to investigate the long-term effect of slightly high blood pressure, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco measured the blood pressure in 3,560 young adults who were followed from 1985 to 2005. At the end of the period, the presence of atherosclerosis in coronary arteries was determined by CT scan.

It was found that nearly 20 percent of the participants developed slightly increased blood pressure or 'pre-hypertension' before the age of 35. Pre-hypertension has something to do with atherosclerosis: the longer pre-hypertension was present, the greater was the risk and severity of atherosclerosis in middle age.

Before further data are obtained, the research team does not recommend the use of blood pressure drugs to treat pre-hypertension in young adulthood. Instead, they suggest lifestyle changes.

They also admit that optimizing blood pressure in young adults is a major challenge. However, they believe that efforts to do so is worthwhile, as this would yield substantial health benefits for individual in such way that population rates of heart disease and stroke could be reduced during middle age and beyond.
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