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Pre-Hypertension in Young Adults

In a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (February 5th, 2014), researchers concluded that monitoring blood pressure levels early on in life can help prevent serious complications later. The study, which tracked 4,700 men and women through the 80's, 90's, and today revealed clear early indicators for a potential risk later in life.


High blood pressure is classified as having a systolic pressure, the top number, of 140 or higher and the lower number, or diastolic pressure, of 90 or higher. Alternatively, the normal blood pressure range is at or below 120/80. Current statistics indicate that approximately 1/3 of adults in the United States have high blood pressure.


Over the course of the 25 year study, participants were tested for their current blood pressure level, and at the conclusion of the study underwent CT scans to examine their arteries for any calcification. The results of the study were quite telling:

--Approximately 5% had high blood pressure at the start of the study, which kept increasing. Their arteries showed the most calcification.
--Only 4% of the individuals within the normal range showed high calcium levels.
--19% had moderate blood pressure at the start, and 17% of those ended up with high levels of calcification.


Knowing that higher blood pressure early in life is a clear indicator of risk as the years progress, what can young adults do to prepare?

--Regularly monitor blood pressure levels starting early in life
--Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen
--Avoid high risk behaviors like smoking, drinking, and illicit drug use



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