Increased Risk of Hypertension in Young Adults

Increased Risk of Hypertension in Young Adults

Hypertension or high blood pressure, which is often dubbed as the “silent killer,” is a common chronic condition among adults. In fact, nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure—and many are not even aware of it. This is even more alarming since studies show that there has been an increased risk of high blood pressure among young adults.

It goes to show that you don’t have to be 60 to start dreading this condition and checking on your health.

According to American Society of Hypertension Spokesman Daniel Lackland, younger men are less likely to believe they have hypertension than older men, which leads them to skip doctor’s consultations. Oftentimes, these are young adults whose blood pressure levels can be significantly affected by weight management and lifestyle interventions yet are still more likely to refuse treatment.

Understanding high blood pressure

Blood pressure is measured as two numbers: the systolic reading, which is the amount of pressure during a heartbeat, over the diastolic reading, which is the pressure in between heartbeats. A normal blood pressure reading goes in between 90/60 mmHg to 120/80 mmHg. Anything more than that likely calls for a diagnosis of high blood pressure.

It is normal for our blood pressure levels to rise and fall throughout the day. Such changes can be observed when our blood pressure lowers when we are asleep and rises when while we are awake. However, when blood pressure stays elevated all the time, possible health problems may ensue, since this causes the heart to pump and work harder. Such health conditions can range from a hardening of the arteries, kidney malfunction, stroke, or even brain hemorrhage.

Hypertension among young adults

According to the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7), half the population of adults is pre-hypertensive or hypertensive, which could progress into hypertension as they grow older since blood pressure often increases with age.

Aside from secondary hypertension, which is high blood pressure that’s caused by another medical condition, essential hypertension exists as another form of the disease. Although the exact cause of essential hypertension is unknown, it may be related to lifestyle factors such as excessive alcohol intake, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.

According to Lackland, the problem with young men is their increased body mass, which is relative to the rising cases of obesity today. While rates are increasing among African-American men in particular, it could well affect young adults of all races.

A serious case

High blood pressure is a medical condition that should be taken seriously regardless of age. Although doctors have been vigilant in the treatment of this condition among middle-aged and older individuals, there is always an exception among younger people. After all, young and active adults are often perceived as healthy and free of medical conditions such as hypertension. But the truth of the matter is that their risk of developing such condition increases with their increased prevalence of risk factors such as obesity, renal disease, and diabetes mellitus.

In particular, research from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center concludes that young adults with isolated systolic hypertension are at risk of artery stiffening in the future, increasing their chances of stroke as well as brain and kidney damage.

Early correction

Thankfully, hypertension is a highly treatable condition with the help of the right medication and lifestyle modifications.

Since obesity has been linked to early hypertension, it is imperative for young adults to try and maintain a normal weight, which is a target BMI of 18.5 to 24.9. Young adults can also adapt the DASH eating plan in their diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This form of diet provides abundant amounts of fruits, vegetables, as well as low-fat dairy products. It also emphasizes the reduction of saturated and total fat in one’s diet. Moreover, individuals adapting the DASH eating plan should be able to reduce their salt intake to less than 1 teaspoon or 2,400 milligrams a day.

Monitoring your blood pressure

Your doctor may also recommend constant monitoring of blood pressure at home. By religiously keeping track of your blood pressure readings throughout the day, your healthcare provider will be able to easily detect any problems and determine the effectiveness of medications and other health interventions.

When choosing a home blood pressure monitor, follow the recommendations made by the American Heart Association. Your home monitor should be an automatic, bicep or upper arm type of blood pressure monitor. Make sure that your NIBP cuffs fit by getting the correct size for adults. You may also bring your monitor to your next doctor’s appointment so he or she can see if you are using it correctly and if you are getting the same results as when their office equipment is used.

For young adults, hypertension may seem like the least of our worries, especially when we feel completely fine and healthy. However, it wouldn’t hurt to stay on top of our health and prevent further complications before they even happen.

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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Increased Risk of Hypertension in Young Adults
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