We've known for years that high blood pressure, or hypertension,
increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart
and stroke. It is the most common cardiovascular condition
in middle-aged and older individuals. But what are the effects
of high blood pressure on young adults? A recent study in
the Archives of Internal Medicine assessed the relationship
between blood pressure and long-term deaths from heart and
Researchers monitored almost 11,000 young men from age 18
to 39. Subjects with higher systolic blood pressure increased
their risk of heart disease later in life by 26%; subjects
with higher diastolic blood pressure showed a 17% risk increase.
Higher-than-normal blood pressure was related to an increase
in the death rate from cardiovascular disease as well. Some
information on blood pressure:
- Systolic blood pressure (the pressure on the arteries
as blood leaves the heart) is the higher number in a blood
- Diastolic pressure (the arterial pressure between beats,
when the heart is at rest) is the lower number in a reading.
- Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80. Borderline
blood pressure is considered 130-139/ 85-89.
Exercising, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, following
a low-sodium diet, and not drinking alcohol excessively are
the keys to keeping your blood pressure down at safe levels.
Have your doctor monitor your blood pressure regularly. Additional
information on health concerns can be accessed on line at
Miura K, Daviglus ML, Dyer AR, et al. Relationship
of blood pressure to 25-year mortality due to coronary heart
disease, cardiovascular diseases, and all causes in young
adult men. Archives of Internal Medicine, June 25,
2001: 161(12), pp. 1501-1508.