Adults under 40 with high blood pressure are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease later in life, researchers have found.
A prospective study published in JAMA included 4,851 American adults whose average age was 36. They had their blood pressure measured on two occasions at the start and were followed for an average of 19 years. Over the period, there were 228 instances of coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure or peripheral artery disease.
About half the group had normal blood pressure of 120/80 or lower. Compared with them, those with elevated pressure — 120-129/80 or higher — were 67 percent more likely to have had cardiovascular problems. People with readings of 130-139/80-89 had a 75 percent increased risk, and those with readings above 140/90 were three and a half times as likely to have some type of cardiovascular disease.
The lead author, Dr. Yuichiro Yano, an assistant professor of community and family medicine at Duke, said that a young person with elevated blood pressure should pursue heart-healthy measures, especially weight control.
“There is no evidence that pharmacological treatment in people under 40 with elevated blood pressure is really beneficial,” he said. “So it’s hard to say you should do that based on this observational study. We need a randomized trial. Then we can decide.”
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