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One in every five young adults have high blood pressure

by nickj on May 26, 2011

A new study has found that one out of every five young adults (ages 24 to 32) in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, a condition that is easy to treat but known to be fatal all the same – it is the second-leading cause of death in the country.

To generate the findings, researchers analyzed the data of more than 14,000 men and women who had participated in the 2008 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. One of the most startling discoveries may have been that only around half the participants with high blood pressure had been told about their condition.

"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 at UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health and the study's lead author.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a known risk factor for heart disease, as well as stroke, kidney disease and heart attack. For the purposes of the study, it was measured as any reading higher than 140 over 90, compared to a normal rate of 120 over 80.

Exercise and diet are thought to be instrumental in lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk for disease. FamilyDoctor.org suggests getting blood pressure checked at least once every two years in order to stay on top of any potential risks. Generally, the condition has no telltale symptoms, which makes it hard for patients to detect on their own.

The news source recommends limiting the amounts of sodium, caffeine and alcohol in one's diet and trying relaxation techniques. Stress is often attributed to high blood pressure as well.  

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