Young adults not too young for hypertension

By Staff Writer • Published: August 30th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Twenty-somethings and those just over the hill … thirty, that is … have yet to worry about middle-age problems like retirement and the aches and pains of the senior set. Career concerns and finding a mate typically take top priority over issues like heart problems and grandkids.

But a new study published in the journal Epidemiology found the millennial generation would be wise to pay more attention to a very important number … their blood pressure. Researchers from the University of North Carolina were surprised to find that one in five young adults between the ages of twenty-four and thirty-two have hypertension. That’s quite a jump from the last count at four percent in 2008.

Health data of more than fourteen-thousand adults in this age range revealed that nineteen percent had blood pressure readings of one-hundred forty over ninety or higher, which is defined as high blood pressure. But only about a quarter of the young adults had been informed of their condition.

In the study, more than a quarter of men had high blood pressure compared with just eleven percent of women. It also found that those with a college degree were less likely than those with just a high school diploma to have hypertension.

Experts think obesity is to blame. But there are some things young adults can do to thwart high blood pressure.

Limit sodium intake to less than twenty-three-hundred milligrams daily, exercise for two and a half hours every week and eat plenty of fruits and veggies. Men should limit alcohol to two drinks a day while women should keep it to one a day.

And since hypertension doesn’t have noticeable symptoms, regular checkups are crucial to catching it. Following a healthy regimen can keep the words “beta blocker” out of your vocabulary, at least before you even have a mortgage.