High blood pressure in teens and adults linked to heart disease, cardiac dysfunction in middle age: Study

By: Bel Marra Health | Heart Health | Sunday, July 10, 2016 - 08:30 AM

high-blood-pressure-linked-to-cardiac-dysfunctionBlood pressure is a dangerous condition and it’s noted as being the number one contributor to many serious and even fatal illnesses and diseases. For these reasons, it’s important to check and monitor your blood pressure, especially as you age.

New research suggests that high blood pressure in young adults can actually increase the risk of heart failure in their later years. This just goes to show the impact blood pressure can have over time.

As part of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDYA), 2,479 men and women were followed for 25 years. These individuals conducted health assessments seven times throughout the study period.

At the beginning of this study, participants were between 18 to 30 years of age. Cardiac imaging was used at the end of the 25-year study to measure heart function.

Participants, in their early age, who had elevated blood pressure, were more likely to experience problems with the heart in their middle age. It’s important to note that the elevated blood pressure readings were still in normal range, but on the higher end. This goes to show that even being in the normal range can pose a threat to your heart.

The study also reveals that our health in our younger years can greatly determine our health in future years. The takeaway from this research is that teens and young adults need to start taking the appropriate steps to prevent future health problems, especially heart disease.

Elevated blood pressure in teens and adults is a warning sign of heart disease developing later in life: Previous study

According to a study conducted in 2014, teens and adults with high blood pressure in their early life presented a greater risk of developing heart disease later on. Elevated blood pressure as young as age 18 is a warning sign of cardiovascular disease developing later in life and the time to begin prevention. This was a 25-year study that looked at the long-term patterns of blood pressure and associated cardiovascular risk.

“This shows that your blood pressure in young adulthood can impact your risk for heart disease later in life,” said Norrina Allen, lead study author and assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “We can’t wait until middle age to address it. If we can prevent their blood pressure from increasing earlier in life we can reduce their risk of future heart attacks and stroke.”

Lifestyle changes like increased physical activity and a healthy diet can be prescribed earlier on to individuals who fit this pattern. Therefore, allowing prevention and an increased chance of avoiding more serious cardiovascular trouble.

Of all group participants in the study that consisted of both men and women aged 18-25 years old, it was found that those with the greatest risk of heart disease are smokers and African Americans. They also had highest risk of rapid increase in blood pressure.

Tips to prevent high blood pressure and heart failure

Blood pressure refers to the amount of pressure applied to the artery walls from blood flow. When this is high it causes stress on the arteries and the heart alike. Heart failure, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily refer to the heart failing. In fact it means the heart is simply unable to perform its function of pumping blood properly.

High blood pressure can make the heart work harder, which can contribute to heart failure.

In both conditions, early prevention is necessary to ensure that blood pressure doesn’t contribute to heart failure.

Even if you’re past your younger days, you can still take steps to reduce your risk of heart failure and ensure healthy blood pressure.

Here are some tips to apply both to preventing high blood pressure as well and reducing your risk of heart failure:

  • Limit sodium and sugar intake
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Reduce and manage stress
  • Limit alcohol
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Control your diabetes.

By practicing these tips, you can aid in protecting your heart and continue to live a healthy life.

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