19 Percent Have High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure when young leads to hypertension and heart attacks

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Typically developed over a number of years, high blood pressure is a common health concern for many individuals. Many patients commonly wait until they are older to worry about getting checked regularly.

But an increasing number of young adults are now grappling with hypertension, which can go undetected for years. High blood pressure that is not controlled ultimately leads to a bevy of problems including heart attacks and strokes.

"Have your blood pressure checked regularly."

A study conducted by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, revealed that about 19 percent of young adults may have high blood pressure, a much higher risk for that age group than previously suspected.

Researchers took blood pressure readings from more than 14,000 men and women between the ages of 24 and 32 during the lengthy study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The findings vary dramatically from that at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which found that only 4 percent of young adults had high blood pressure.

Researchers were unable to pinpoint why the two studies reported such different results, however, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study also included a wider range of age groups in the study -- young adults between the ages of 20 and 39 years of age.

Many of the study participants were unaware they had high blood pressure, measured as 140/90 millimeters of mercury or greater for purposes of this study.

Of the 19 percent found to have hypertension, only 11 percent reported a physician had previously told them they had high blood pressure.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
May 31, 2011
Last Updated:
June 1, 2011