Hypertension Occurs in 1 in 5 Young Adults
Hypertension is growing more frequent in young adults, with a new study saying nearly one in five may have high blood pressure. As hypertension is the second leading cause of death in the United States and costs the health care system $73 billion annually, these figures are cause for concern.
The study, conducted by a team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, found figures in stark contrast to those suggested by a federal government study done by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The federal study suggested that only four percent of young adults have high blood pressure, while the research implies a much higher rate.
And the discrepancies can’t be based on logistics. Both studies used the same definition of hypertension: a blood pressure reading of 140 over 90 millimeters of mercury or more.
For the study, the team examined more than 14,000 men and women between the ages of 24 and 32. They found that 19 percent of participants had elevated blood pressure, but only about half had been told by doctors that they had the condition.
The researchers did not look for a cause as to why numbers are rising, but cautioned against the risks inherent in high blood pressure.
“The findings are significant because they indicate that many young adults are at risk of developing heart disease, but are unaware that they have hypertension,” said Quynh Nguyen, a doctoral student who worked on the research.