High Blood Pressure of Undiagnosed Young Adults
A silent epidemic is spreading among young adults, one that is common among middle-aged individuals and senior citizens.
That epidemic is high blood pressure, also known as hypertension (HTN).
Ironically generally, people associate HTN with senior citizens. Still, the truth is that a growing segment of society (ages 16-24) is at risk for HBP, especially since the condition can be asymptomatic, as many younger adults may have HTN and are unaware of it.
A high blood pressure reading is 130/80 mmHg, while a normal reading is 120/80 mm Hg. The top number (systolic blood pressure) is the pressure of vessels when the heart beats and pumps out blood.
The bottom number (diastolic pressure) is the pressure in blood vessels when the heart is at rest and filling up with blood. This shows how hard your heart has to work to pump blood throughout your body. The higher the blood pressure reading, the harder your heart must work to keep you alive.
According to the Office for National Statistics, in the U.K., 66% of males and 26% of females ages 16 to 24 have high blood pressure that goes undiagnosed.
Meanwhile, 1 in 8 young adults under age 40 suffer from high blood pressure across the pond.
“High blood pressure at a younger age leads to long-term cardiovascular events, like stroke and heart attacks in middle age,” says Nwet Mon Win,
a medical doctor working in the National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
“The cause of hypertension in young adults,” says Win. “is mostly secondary, which means there is an underlying cause to treat rather than just controlling blood pressure.” These causes or factors are most often obesity, eating fast foods, and a sedentary lifestyle combined with traditional risk factors like diabetes, smoking and renal disease, kidney disease, and sexual dysfunction.
Plus, according to a study published in the AHA Journal Circulation, young adults ages 16-24 are at an increased risk for stroke, heart attacks, heart failure, and other cardiovascular diseases by a staggering 67 percent as they grow into middle age!
Statistics also show that individuals who identify as healthy are less likely to seek annual health checks. This is also true for young adults with undiagnosed hypertension. In the U.K., for instance, 41 percent of males and 28 percent of females with undiagnosed self-reported as being healthy or very healthy.
High blood pressure doesn’t discriminate and affects people of just about any age group, even young adults.
Young adults must take charge of their health, as this will ensure the best opportunity for a long, happy, and healthy life.
In addition to regular blood pressure monitoring, adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial for helping to prevent hypertension in the long run.
Dr. Win recommends restricting your sodium consumption to under 2.5 grams (2,325 mg) each day. This quantity is approximately equivalent to one teaspoon of salt (5g).
- When grocery shopping, read food labels to determine sodium amount and remember to look at the serving size.
- Avoid processed foods as they are packed with sodium.
- Control the amount of sodium in your food by making more home-cooked meals instead of dining out at restaurants or getting takeout.
- Lower high blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg by consuming a fiber-rich, low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet containing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Get more exercise. Regular physical activity lasting 150 minutes (2.5 hours) per week over (5-7 days/week) and strength training (2-3 days/week) can lower high blood pressure by about 5 to 7 mm Hg.
- Stop smoking and use alcohol in moderation which means one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men.
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Everyone, even young adults, should take a proactive approach to blood pressure health with regular monitoring, especially those with a family history of HBP.
For many people, high blood pressure does not present any symptoms and, as a result, can go undiagnosed for many years. But with easy and convenient monitoring using our optical blood pressure measuring technology, individuals can gain a comprehensive blood pressure reading anytime.
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Disclaimer: If you are concerned about your blood pressure, it is best to speak to your doctor. They can advise on the best way to manage your blood pressure.
National Health Service (NHS) – https://www.linkedin.com/in-nwet-mon-win-993bb4198
Risk factors for undiagnosed high blood pressure in England (ONS), 27 April 2023 – https://www.ons.gov.uk/health-and-well-being-risk-factors-for-undiagnosed-high-blood-pressure
Cardiovascular Risk of Isolated Systolic or Diastolic Hypertension in Young Adults, 2020 – https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA
Why People Do Not Attend Health Screenings, 2020 – https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17103495
Effects of Sodium Reduction and the DASH Diet, December 2017 – https://doi.org/10.1016
Exercise for the Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension, May 2023 – https://www.acsm.org/blog-detail-exercise-hypertension-prevention-treatment
Investigation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Young People (Hypertension), 2020 – https://doi.org/10.1161-HYPERTENSIONAHA