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Blood Pressure at 18 Linked to Heart Disease

Wednesday, 23 November 2011 08:20 AM

Young adults with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart and cardiovascular disease later in life, a new study claims.

High blood pressure has long been a risk factor for heart disease and stroke – but studies usually focus on the middle-age and elderly with hypertension. A team of researchers say their findings are the first to note that high readings when young are telling.

British and U.S. researchers analyzed data from a 60-year period, which began with blood pressure measurements and other information from over 18,000 male Harvard students between 1916 and 1950, when students were on average about 18 years old. Questionnaires followed up with the men in middle age and the study concluded with mortality information gained through the late 1990s.

Hypertension in early adulthood led to a 14 percent increase in coronary heart disease later in life, the study found, plus an 8 percent increase in cardiovascular disease and 5 percent increase in overall mortality. No relationship was noted with the risk of stroke – a surprising finding, researchers said, given previous findings linking hypertension in older adults with stroke.

The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggests that blood pressure-lowering strategies should be implemented earlier in life.

“More careful attention should be given by clinicians to young and middle-aged adults with elevations in blood pressure,” said study coauthor Howard D. Sesso, ScD, Associate Epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

© HealthDay

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High blood pressure – even in early adulthood – may predict future heart disease, researchers say.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011 08:20 AM
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