Young Adults May Be Ignoring High Blood Pressure
Only 4 in 10 with the condition get it under control, study reports
MONDAY, Aug. 28, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- High blood pressure doesn't seem to be as much of a concern for young American adults as it is for their 40 and older counterparts, a new study finds.
And, that seems to be especially true for young adult men, the study authors said.
"While hypertension awareness, treatment and control have improved overall since the early 2000s, all three remain worse in young adults -- those aged 18-39," said senior study author Dr. Andrew Moran. An assistant professor at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, he made his comments in a news release from the American Heart Association.
The heart association defines high blood pressure as 140/90 or higher. High blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke.
The study included information from eight surveys completed sometime between 1999-2014. More than 41,000 Americans participated in the surveys. They answered questions about their awareness of high blood pressure and its treatment.
The findings suggest that just half of 6.7 million young adults with high blood pressure were treated in 2013-2014 in the United States. An even smaller number -- 40 percent -- got their blood pressure under control, according to the news release.
Researchers found that just 68 percent of young men were aware of high blood pressure, compared to 86 percent of young women. The gap was also wide in terms of treatment (44 percent for men, 61 percent for women) and control (34 percent for men, 52 percent for women).
"Our study identified shortfalls in high blood pressure screening and management among young adults and especially young adult males," said study lead author Yiyi Zhang, an associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center.
"The first step for young adults is to have their blood pressure measured, whether in a doctor's office, pharmacy or other place in their community. Young adults with consistently high blood pressure need a link to clinical care to verify the diagnosis and receive regular monitoring and possibly treatment," Zhang said.
The study also reported that young people with high blood pressure were much more likely to be obese, a step up from simply being overweight. Almost 75 percent fell in the obesity category compared to 57 percent of middle-aged people with high blood pressure and 42 percent of older people with high blood pressure.
The researchers also found that a condition known as prehypertension, in which people are at risk of developing high blood pressure, was higher in young men (34 percent) than young women (13 percent).
Prehypertension is when blood pressure readings are between 120 and 139 for the top (systolic) number and 80 to 89 for the lower (diastolic) number, the researchers said.
Findings from the study, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, were published Aug. 28 in the journal Hypertension.
For more about high blood pressure, visit the American Heart Association.