Fitness & Health



Hypertension And Young Adults

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is known as a medical condition that affects older people and is an age-related health risk. Unfortunately, there's been a global increase in children, adolescents and young adults suffering from it too.

by / Published: 8 Nov 2018

Hypertension And Young Adults
Photo: Unsplash

Negligence in blood pressure monitoring among young adults is common. They usually have a false sense of security about medical conditions like hypertension and are more likely to ignore the symptoms and be less disciplined when it comes to prevention and cure. 

In a Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study conducted in the United States, it was found that 20% of 18-30-year-olds were hypertensive due to an increase in lifestyle risk factors. 

These included: 

Secondary hypertension
About 90-95% of cases are primary hypertension, which refers to high blood pressure with no medical cause. Secondary hypertension, which counts for the remaining 5-10% of cases, is caused by medical conditions that affect the kidneys, arteries, heart or endocrine system, and can be reversible once the underlying cause is removed. Causes of secondary hypertension in young adults include kidney disease, anatomical abnormality of the aorta, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hypo or hyperthyroidism. Young adult females may also have hypertension due to taking oral contraceptives

A family history of hypertension increases the risk of having primary hypertension, even in young adults. If there is no known underlying medical cause and no lifestyle risk factors, genetics is probably the reason why. 

The increasing rate of obesity has also contributed to the increasing rate of hypertension among young adults. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), obesity rates have more than doubled since 1980 with 1 in 10 of the world’s adult population considered to be clinically obese. In a survey published in the Journal of American College Surgery, overweight people have a higher chance of developing hypertension than someone of a normal weight with the risk increasing as their weight goes up. 

Lack of physical activity
When you exercise, hormones are released that relax your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure. A lack of physical activity increases the risk of being overweight which in turn raises the risk of developing hypertension. 

Dietary factors
A diet that is too high in sodium can elevate your blood pressure, narrow blood vessels and cause fluid retention. Young people tend to consume more processed food with high levels of sodium, and this increases hypertension incidence. 

This article has been republished with permission from Hello Doktor