Young adults, especially men, fall behind in high blood pressure treatment and control

August 28, 2017, American Heart Association
Credit: American Heart Association

Young adults, particularly men, lag behind middle-aged and older adults in awareness and treatment of high blood pressure, putting this population at an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension.

High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for and stroke and is also a significant public health burden, costing the United States about $110 billion in direct and indirect costs in 2015, according to American Heart Association estimates. American Heart Association guidelines define blood pressure as normal at less than 120/80 and high blood pressure as 140/90 or above.

"While hypertension awareness, treatment and control have improved overall since the early 2000s, all three remain worse in young adults - those aged 18-39," said senior study author Andrew Moran, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

The study, based on 1999-2014 data taken from more than 41,000 people who participated in eight national health surveys, examined the prevalence and management of high blood pressure among adults.

Among the researchers' key findings:

  • Only half of the 6.7 million young adults with high blood pressure in 2013-2014 received treatment and only 40 percent got their blood pressure under control.
  • Among young men, rates of awareness, treatment and control were lower compared to young women (68.4 percent versus 86 percent for awareness; 43.7 percent versus 61.3 percent for treatment; and 33.7 percent vs. 51.8 percent for control).
  • Nearly three-quarters of young adults who had high blood pressure were obese compared with 57 percent of middle-aged adults and 42 percent of , suggesting that young adults with high blood pressure are more than twice as likely to be obese.

Researchers noted young women are more likely to have their blood pressure checked due to more frequent healthcare visits like gynecological exams or prenatal care.

The prevalence of prehypertension (readings from 120-139/80-89), was significantly higher among young men (33.6 percent) than (12.8 percent). According to the American Heart Association, people with pre-hypertension are likely to develop high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control it.

"Our study identified shortfalls in high and management among young adults and especially young adult males," said lead study author Yiyi Zhang, Ph.D., associate research scientist at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. "The first step for young adults is to have their blood pressure measured, whether in a doctor's office, pharmacy or other place in their community. Young adults with consistently high blood pressure need a link to clinical care to verify the diagnosis and receive regular monitoring and possibly treatment."

This study emphasizes the need to focus on early hypertension prevention and management in . It also highlights the importance of addressing policy issues related to healthcare access and utilization.

Recognizing the need and importance of , in 2015 the American Heart Association and the American Medical Association began collaborating to get more people appropriately treated to control. Target:BP is a recognition program that urges medical practices, hospitals and health service organizations to reach and sustain a pressure control rate of 70 percent or higher among the patients they serve.

Explore further: Take a free test that could possibly save your life

More information: Hypertension (2017). DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.117.09801

Related Stories

Take a free test that could possibly save your life

April 14, 2017
As part of #CheckIt, the American Heart Association (AHA) ) – the world's leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease – wants people to check their own blood pressure by May 17, World ...

African-Americans with healthier lifestyles had lower risk of high blood pressure

June 26, 2017
Among African Americans, small health improvements were associated with lower risk of developing high blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Hypertension. African Americans who ...

High blood pressure in young adults likely to go undiagnosed

November 6, 2012
Adults 18-24 years old with high blood pressure were 28 percent less likely to be diagnosed during doctor visits than those 60 and older, according to findings presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions ...

Seeing doctor twice a year helps keep blood pressure under control

October 20, 2014
People who visited their doctor at least twice a year were 3.2 times more likely to keep their blood pressure under control than those who saw their doctor once a year or less, according to new research in the American Heart ...

High blood pressure control in United States continues to improve

November 16, 2014
High blood pressure control continues to improve in the United States, with more than half of those with the condition now achieving readings below 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), according to new research presented ...

Patients who trust the medical profession are more likely to take their high blood pressure medicine

April 3, 2017
Patients with high blood pressure who had more trust in the medical profession were more likely to take their high blood pressure medicine than those with less trust, according to a new study presented at the American Heart ...

Recommended for you

Can stem cells help a diseased heart heal itself? Researchers achieve important milestone

December 14, 2018
A team of Rutgers scientists, including Leonard Lee and Shaohua Li, have taken an important step toward the goal of making diseased hearts heal themselves—a new model that would reduce the need for bypass surgery, heart ...

Higher risk of heart attack on Christmas Eve

December 12, 2018
The risk of heart attack peaks at around 10pm on Christmas Eve, particularly for older and sicker people, most likely due to heightened emotional stress, finds a Swedish study in this week's Christmas issue of The BMJ.

Your weight history may predict your heart failure risk

December 12, 2018
In a medical records analysis of information gathered on more than 6,000 people, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers conclude that simply asking older adult patients about their weight history at ages 20 and 40 could provide ...

Age is the biggest risk for heart disease, but lifestyle and meds have impact

December 12, 2018
Of all the risk factors for heart disease, age is the strongest predictor of potential trouble.

New understanding of mysterious 'hereditary swelling'

December 12, 2018
For the first time ever, biomedical researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, report cellular defects that lead to a rare disease, hereditary angioedema (HAE), in which patients experience recurrent episodes of swelling ...

Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes

December 11, 2018
Researchers have found that incidence of heart failure was around two-fold higher in people with diabetes.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.