Blood pressure in early adulthood matters later

( — High blood pressure usually concerns only people middle-aged and older. But a new study suggests that high blood pressure in early adulthood spells future heart problems and that it shouldn’t be ignored.

Researchers from the United States and United Kingdom followed almost 19,000 male students from Harvard who had their blood pressure measured when they entered college between 1914 and 1952. These men also responded to a health questionnaire mailed in the 1960s when they were an average age of almost 46. Assessments of death and cause of death were made in 1998.

The study found that regardless of one’s blood pressure at middle age, having elevated blood pressure in college increased the risk of cardiovascular problems later in life. Every 13.1 mmHg increase in systolic blood pressure in early adulthood was linked to a 5% increased risk of death from any cause, an 8% risk of death from cardiovascular disease and 14% increased risk of death from coronary heart disease.


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