For the study, researchers examined data from more than 41,000
participants in eight national health surveys from 1999 to 2014.
Their findings, extended to the general population, suggest that by
the end of the study period, only half of the 6.7 million young
adults aged 18 to 39 with high blood pressure received treatment and
only 40 percent got their blood pressure, or hypertension, under
By comparison, 70 percent of middle-aged adults aged 40 to 59 and 83
percent of adults aged 60 and older with high blood pressure got it
treated, and more than half of these older patients got the
condition under control.
“Hypertension awareness, treatment, and control have improved in
young adults in recent years, but not enough to close the quality
gap in hypertension management between young and older adults,” said
study co-author Dr. Andrew Moran of Columbia University Medical
Center in New York City.
Overall, about 75 million U.S. adults, or 32 percent, had high blood
pressure by the end of the study period, researchers report in the
Men account for much of the age gap in blood pressure treatment and
control, the study found.
For example, 68 percent of young men with high blood pressure knew
they had the condition, compared with 86 percent of young women.
Just 44 percent of young men with high blood pressure received
treatment for the condition, and only 34 percent got their blood
pressure under control.
More than 61 percent of young women with high blood pressure got
treatment and 52 percent of them got the condition under control,
the study found.
While the study didn’t examine why young women did better at
managing high blood pressure than young men, the study authors say
it’s possible women get more frequent blood pressure checks because
they have more routine healthcare visits for gynecological exams or
Obesity also contributed to age differences in high blood pressure.
Almost three in four young adults with high blood pressure were
obese, compared with 57 percent of middle-aged adults and 42 percent
of older adults.
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The study included survey data on 41,331 adults.
It wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how
factors like age, obesity or gender might influence the odds of
developing high blood pressure or treating it properly.
Another limitation is that researchers only had blood pressure data
from a single point in time, and they lacked data on lifestyle
modifications to manage hypertension such as changes in diet or
Even so, elevated blood pressure in adolescence and young adulthood
can contribute to changes in blood vessels that lead to heart
attacks and strokes later in life, said Dr. Holly Gooding, a
researcher at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s
Hospital in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study.
“The best strategy is to prevent high blood pressure in the first
place, by engaging in regular physical activity, eating a heart
healthy diet, and avoiding tobacco,” Gooding said by email.
When people do need medication to manage high blood pressure, they
can get better results when they’re young, Gooding noted.
“This is yet another reason to focus greater resources on
cardiovascular disease prevention earlier in life,” Gooding said.
“We are likely to get more return on our investment.”
SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2xH1Qes Hypertension, online August 28, 2017.
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