High blood pressure may increase the risk of heart disease. But if you have the condition at a young age, your chances may be even higher.
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Researchers at Duke University recently conducted a study, published in JAMA, to investigate the treatment of younger hypertension based on the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association's new blood pressure levels.
In 2017 organizations defined normal blood pressure 120 or less systolic blood pressure over 80 diastolic or less, elevated blood pressure 120-129 under 80, stage 1 hypertension as 130-139 over 80-89 and phase 2 blood pressure 140 or over 90 or over.
More than 4,800 adults with hypertension prior to the age of 40 were studied. About half of the participants were African Americans and 55 percent women. The researchers then classified the patients into four of the above-mentioned blood pressure groups and followed them for about 19 years.
After analyzing the results, they found people with higher blood pressure before age 40 had a higher risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or stroke compared with under 40 years of normal blood pressure. In fact, higher blood pressure before the age of 40 joined up to 3.5 times the risk of heart disease and brain injury.
"This is the first step in assessing whether the new criteria are in line with the high blood pressure that younger people should be concerned about as potential predicates of serious problems," said leading author Yuichiro Yano in his statement. "Although this is an observational study, it is evidence that new blood pressure guidelines help identify those who may be at risk of cardiovascular disease."
Researchers are now hoping to continue their research efforts to strengthen their findings and encourage healthcare providers to better target younger individuals with higher blood pressure.
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