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How does high blood pressure affect health at a young age?
As is well known, high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart disease. Researchers have now found that if people have high blood pressure at a young age, it significantly increases the likelihood of later heart disease.
In their current study, Duke University scientists found that high blood pressure at a young age is associated with an increased risk of heart disease later in life. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "JAMA".
When does high blood pressure start?
Experts from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have assigned normal blood pressure to 120/80 mmHg. But when does a high blood pressure actually start? A permanent blood pressure value above 140/90 mmHg is called hypertension in Germany.
More than 4,800 subjects participated in the study
For their study, the researchers examined a total of more than 4,800 adults. Blood pressure measurements were carried out in these subjects before the age of 40. About half of the participants were African-American and 55 percent were women. The subjects were initially divided into four different groups by the scientists, depending on their blood pressure. The doctors then monitored these people for a period of 19 years.
How much was the risk of heart disease increased?
After analyzing the results, the researchers found that people with higher blood pressure before the age of 40 had an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as a heart attack or stroke compared to participants under 40 years of age with normal blood pressure. In fact, higher blood pressure before the age of 40 was associated with an up to 3.5 times higher risk of heart disease and stroke, scientists explain.
More research is needed
This is a first step in assessing whether hypertension in younger people is a potential precursor to serious problems, says study author Dr. Yuichiro Yano from Duke University. New blood pressure guidelines can help identify people at increased risk of cardiovascular events. Scientists now hope to continue their research to confirm their results and to encourage healthcare providers to provide better advice to younger people with high or high blood pressure. (as)