A recent study has found that young adults have hypertension in increasing numbers. The new study—which took blood pressure readings of more than 14,000 men and women between 24 and 32 years of age—revealed a higher percentage of high blood pressure readings than results from a previous major study, according to Steven Hirschfeld, Associate Director for Clinical Research for the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). This indicates higher risk for young adults than what was believed earlier.
The real concern is that the younger people with hypertension are 28% less likely to be diagnosed with the condition than the elderly people, as per a study conducted by the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2012.
You are 25 and feel normal, but your doctor says your blood pressure readings are on higher side and you need to visit him again to get it re-checked. Being a go-getter, you feel high blood pressure is an old age disease, so take it easy. What happens is, you are less likely to go back to the doctor for a re-check. That’s what Daniel Lackland, DrPH, spokesman for the American Society of Hypertension says – “Young men are less likely than older men to believe they have hypertension and less likely to go back to the doctor. Often these are patients whose blood pressure would respond to weight management and other lifestyle changes, but they’re less likely to seek treatment.” Most of the young men or women are unaware that they have high blood pressure, and that is the real concern.
The young adults don’t realize that untreated hypertension harms the heart and other vital organs that can result into life-threatening conditions – such as heart disease, kidney disease – in later years. That’s why it is known as “the silent killer” meaning you can have high blood pressure for many years without any symptoms. Its symptoms usually appear after it has already caused enough damage to your vital organs.
Read on here to find out what does high blood pressure mean in young adults, its causes and natural remedies to live a healthy life.
Causes Of High Blood Pressure In Young Adults
Broadly there are two types of hypertensions, namely (i) Essential and (ii) Secondary. Essential hypertension accounts for 90% to 95% of the cases. Rest of the cases are secondary.
The causes of essential hypertension are unknown. But it is known that lifestyle aspects – such as obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and excessive consumption of salt or alcohol – result into the essential hypertension condition.
For the secondary hypertension the causes can be kidney disease, hormonal imbalance, or drugs, such as cocaine, alcohol etc.
Contributory Reasons Of High Blood Pressure In Young Men Or Women – That You Can Control
(i) Obesity: Obese people are prone to have high blood pressure. They are also more likely to have stress, which is another major cause for hypertension.
(ii) Stress: Stress causes a short and sudden increase in blood pressure.
(iii) Anger: Your blood pressure gets hiked up, when you anger.
(iv)Tobacco: Smoking or chewing tobacco increase your blood pressure immediately and can harm the lining of your arteries. Smoking also hardens arteries and damages your blood vessels, leading them to get narrow – resulting into your blood pressure levels go high.
(v) Drugs: Young adults who consume drugs carry higher risk of hypertension. Drugs lead to narrowing of the blood vessels – known as vasoconstriction – leading to high blood pressure levels. Cocaine is a well-known cause of hypertension. There are some other legal medications, like steroids, cold relief medicines and birth control pills that can be cause for high blood pressure even in teens.
(vi) Alcohol: Too much of alcohol can also be a cause for blood pressure in teenagers or young adults.
Contributory Reasons Of High Blood Pressure In Young Men Or Women – That You Cannot Control
(i) Age: your risks of high blood pressure increase as you grow old.
(ii) Genetics: Hereditary Factor.
(iii) Race: For example African Americans are more likely to have hypertension.
What Does High Blood Pressure Mean?
The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7) guidelines categorize hypertension as follows:
Categories for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults
(in mmHg, or millimeters of mercury)
Systolic (top number)
Diastolic (bottom number)
|Normal||Less than 120||And||Less than 80|
|Prehypertension**(130/80 for patients with diabetes or chronic disease)||120–139||Or||80–89|
|High blood pressure|
|Stage 2||160 or higher||Or||100 or higher|
(i) In simple words, blood pressure is the force applied by blood on the walls of the arteries and veins when it flows through the body. Like tides in the ocean, it is typical for blood pressure to rise and fall during the course of a day. Blood pressure is lowest while you are sleeping, but rises when you are awaken.
(ii) Blood Pressure is recorded as two numbers, namely, systolic over diastolic. If your blood pressure reading is say 120 over 80 (120/80), 120 represents systolic pressure – pressure against artery walls when your heart beats. 80 represents diastolic pressure, or the pressure between heart beats.
(iii) If your blood pressure is between 120/80 and 139/89, you have pre-hypertension. “Prehypertension” means you’re likely to end up with High Blood Pressure, unless you take steps to prevent it. —National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
(iv) When your blood pressure remains high over time and if not controlled, it makes your heart to pump harder and work overtime that can put you at risk of serious health problems, such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and brain hemorrhage. If it is diagnosed in time, this condition can be contained with balanced diet, exercise and drug therapy.
Managing High Blood Pressure With High Blood Pressure Natural Remedies
For people with prehypertension blood pressure as well as hypertension, we recommend the following lifestyle changes in addition to getting regular check-ups and follow-ups with their doctors to help keep the blood pressure in control:
1. Normal Weight: Increased body weight and obesity is a known factor for developing high cholesterol and diabetes, which in turn can contribute to heart disease. So, maintain a normal weight by eating a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables with a target body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9. As per Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7), this can reduce your systolic blood pressure by 5-20 points per 10 kilograms of weight loss.
2. Try DASH Eating Plan: Go for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). Eating DASH diet comprising of fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, whole grains, poultry, fish, and nuts with reduction of saturated, total fat, red meats, sweets and sugared beverages can be expected to decrease your systolic blood pressure by 8-14 points.
3. Control Sodium (Salt) Intake: Reduce dietary sodium intake to less than 2,400 milligrams a day or about 1 teaspoon of salt or less per day. This includes all salt consumed, not only at the table, but that used in the cooking as well. Most of the Americans intake far more than that. As per JNC 7, a 1,600 milligram sodium DASH eating plan is as good as a single drug therapy and has blood pressure-lowering effects. The expected reduction in systolic blood pressure can be 2-8 points.
4. Physical Activity: Engage in exercises regularly to control or even prevent high blood pressure condition. You can go for aerobic physical activities or try moderate level activities, such as brisk walking, bicycling or gardening for at least 30 minutes a day, preferably on all days of the week. If you like, you can divide the physical activity in to three, 10-minute periods of each. If you have had heart trouble or a previous heart attack, a family history of heart disease at an early age, or suffering from other serious health problems, check with your physician before upping the physical activity level.
5. Manage your Stress and Anger: Stress and anger can cause high blood pressure. Anger is more relevant for younger men than older men.
6. Get Enough Sleep: It’s important to get about eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Ideally, you’d get six to eight hours.
7. Avoid Alcohol Consumption: Avoid alcoholic drinks, and if you must then limit your alcohol consumption to not more than two drinks per day for men and one per day for women. Excessive alcohol consumption tends to elevate your blood pressure, as well as can harm your liver, heart and brain.
8. Avoid Smoking or Chewing Tobacco: Smoking can damage blood vessel walls and paces hardening of the arteries. Quitting smoking decreases the risk of heart attack in just one year.
9. Caffeine: Reduce caffeine intake.
10. Avoid Packaged / Processed Foods: Go for no-sodium or low-sodium packaged / processed foods.
11. Avoid instant, junk or ready to eat foods. Reduce intake of rice and cereal.
12. Rinse canned foods to wash off some of the sodium (salt).
Younger vs. Older – High Blood Pressure
Whereas the younger men, with high blood pressure condition, usually suffer from high diastolic pressure, the older men suffer from systolic pressure. In case of young men, the heart pumps harder – so rises the diastolic pressure and in older men the systolic pressure rises due to stiffening of the arteries.
The problem with the young men is partly due to increasing body mass. The hypertension in teens and 20s is due to the rising obesity rates. Particularly this is happening with African-American men, but this trend is being observed in all races now.
Here Is An Important Message For Young Adults
Know your blood pressure numbers and if required, modify your lifestyle to get them in the normal range. Experts say that lifestyle changes can “undoubtedly” be enough for a healthy young person to manage his / her moderately elevated blood pressure. But if the elevated blood pressure is left unchecked, it can start taking a toll on the arteries early in life. Don’t wait until your 40s or 50s to address it, as otherwise the damage to the arteries may already be done by that time.
Whereas for most healthy young adults checking of blood pressure every couple of years may be all right, but if they have a strong family history of high blood pressure – such as two parents who developed the condition at a fairly young age – more-frequent blood pressure checks should be done.
Useful Related Articles: