High blood pressure by this age raises heart attack risk, study says


High blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease. But if you have the condition at a young age, your chances may be even higher.

>> On AJC.com: Study: Eat dinner at this time to avoid diabetes, hypertension

Researchers from Duke University recently conducted a study, published in JAMA, to explore hypertension in younger adults based on new blood pressure levels set by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.

In 2017, the organizations defined normal blood pressure as 120 or lower systolic blood pressure over 80 diastolic or less, elevated blood pressure as 120-129 over less than 80, stage 1 hypertension as 130-139 over 80-89 and stage 2 hypertension as 140 or greater over 90 or greater.

For the assessment, they examined more than 4,800 adults who had blood pressure measurements taken before age 40. About half of participants were African-American, and 55 percent were women. The scientists then categorized the subjects into the four aforementioned blood pressure groups and followed them for about 19 years.

>> Read more trending news 

After analyzing the results, they found people with higher blood pressure before age 40 were more at risk for cardiovascular disease events like a heart attack or stroke, compared to those under 40 with normal blood pressure. In fact, higher blood pressure before age 40 was associated with up to a 3.5 times greater risk of heart disease and strokes.

“This is a first step in assessing whether high blood pressure, as defined by the new criteria, is something that younger people should be concerned about as a potential precursor to serious problems,” lead author Yuichiro Yano said in a statement. “Although this is an observational study, it demonstrates that the new blood pressure guidelines are helpful in identifying those who might be at risk for cardiovascular events.”

>> On AJC.com: 5 reasons to take a second look at your blood pressure

The scientists now hope to continue their investigations to confirm their findings and encourage health care providers to better target younger individuals with higher blood pressure. 


Reader Comments


Next Up in Health

This everyday task can help you avoid high blood pressure, study says
This everyday task can help you avoid high blood pressure, study says

A healthy diet and consistent workout routine can help you avoid high blood pressure. But there’s a simple task that can also lower your risk, according to a new report.  Researchers from the University at Buffalo recently conducted a study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, to determine the link between dental...
'Baby, It's Cold Outside' writer's daughter says song isn't about date rape
'Baby, It's Cold Outside' writer's daughter says song isn't about date rape

The daughter of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" writer Frank Loesser is firing back against critics who are giving the holiday classic a frosty reception this year. Susan Loesser, 74, spoke to NBC News last week, defending the 1944 song against claims that it normalizes date rape. "Bill Cosby ruined it for everybody," she said...
More blood pressure medication recalled due to possible cancer risk
More blood pressure medication recalled due to possible cancer risk

Yet another blood pressure medication has been added to the list of recalled hypertension drugs.  Mylan Pharmaceuticals has voluntarily expanded its recall for its valsartan-containing products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced. The affected pills include valsartan, amlodipine/valsartan and valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide...
6 things you may not know about Christmas 
6 things you may not know about Christmas 

Christmas has many traditions that are so entrenched you probably don't give them much thought. But when you consider why things are done the way they are, you'll find that just about every element of Christmas has an interesting, evolving story behind it. Here are six things you may not know about Christmas: Dec. 25 probably wasn't the day when Jesus...
Tracking Santa: Where's Santa now and when will he be at your home?
Tracking Santa: Where's Santa now and when will he be at your home?

It's the question at the top of every child's mind on Christmas eve: where is Santa now and when will he get to my house? Fortunately, there are several ways to track St. Nick so you can see when he's scheduled to arrive in various parts of the world. Whether you prefer a website, an app, social media or even an old-school phone call, it's easy to...
More Stories