Hypertension in Teens Predicts Adult Heart Woes

Left unchecked, blood pressure rises 7 percent per year, study finds

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FRIDAY, May 19, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who have pre-hypertension or hypertension and don't exercise, eat better or receive drugs to treat the conditions are more likely to have hypertension when they're young adults, a U.S. study finds.

"Knowing which youngsters are most likely to progress to hypertension would provide the ability to target preventive measures," Dr. Bonita Falkner, professor of medicine and pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, said in a prepared statement.

Her team compared single blood pressure readings taken two years apart among 4,147 boys and 4,386 girls, ages 13 to 15, who were in the National Childhood Blood Pressure Database.

The study found that there was a linear increase -- from normal blood pressure, to pre-hypertension, to hypertension -- among teens who had hypertension at the second blood pressure reading. The progression of pre-hypertension to hypertension is about seven percent per year, the researchers said.

Among boys in the study, weight was an important predictor of higher blood pressure, while age was a significant factor among girls -- those aged 15 showed higher blood pressure than those aged 13.

The study was expected to be presented Friday at the American Society for Hypertension's annual scientific meeting, in New York City.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about teens and hypertension.

SOURCE: American Society of Hypertension, news release, May 19, 2006

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