Teen boys with high blood pressure face long-term risks.

Teen boys with high blood pressure face long-term risks.

High Blood Pressure in Teens: A Gateway to Heart Problems in Adulthood

Teen with high blood pressure

Teenage boys with high blood pressure face a higher likelihood of serious heart problems later in life, according to a study conducted by Swedish researchers. The risks of heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, and death were found to be significantly elevated for boys with high blood pressure starting from when their blood pressure exceeded the normal reading of 120/80 mm Hg1. These findings underscore the importance of regularly monitoring blood pressure in adolescents and taking steps to identify and intervene in cases of increased cardiovascular risk2.

Lead researcher Dr. Helene Rietz from Umeå University in Sweden hopes that this study will encourage doctors to pay more attention to high blood pressure in adolescent patients and increase the frequency of blood pressure measurements during adolescent visits3. Currently, blood pressure measurement frequency varies between countries, practices, and individual doctors, and recommendations are often vague4.

Treating high blood pressure in teenagers remains a challenging question. It raises inquiries about whether children should take the same blood pressure-lowering drugs as adults and the appropriate timing for pharmacological treatment5. Dr. Rietz suggests that further study is needed to evaluate how and when pharmacological treatment should be considered, taking into account lifestyle factors, accompanying diseases, and overall cardiovascular risk6.

One potential contributing factor to high blood pressure in teens is the obesity epidemic. Lifestyle factors such as an unhealthy diet and low levels of physical activity play a crucial role in the development of high blood pressure7. The study conducted by Rietz and her colleagues gathered data from nearly 1.4 million individuals who were in the Swedish military between 1969 and 1997, with an average age of 188. Among these men, 29% exhibited above-normal blood pressure (120-129/80 mm Hg) and 54% had high blood pressure (130/80 mm Hg or higher), as defined by the American Heart Association9. Over a 50-year follow-up period, 1 in 10 men with high blood pressure as teenagers experienced a major cardiovascular incident before retirement, such as a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure10. On the other hand, those with a blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg did not encounter such incidents11.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, urges comprehensive interventions to aid teens with high blood pressure. These interventions should operate on multiple levels, including policy-making, educating parents, and promoting physical activity in schools, among other measures12. Dr. Rietz emphasizes the need for easy, affordable, and accessible adoption of a healthy lifestyle for everyone13.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center in Los Angeles, corroborated the study’s findings. He stated that higher blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and premature cardiovascular death14. Fonarow highlighted the study’s significance in identifying increased risk in adolescents and facilitating early lifestyle interventions to lower this risk and prevent cardiovascular disease15. It is worth noting that the mentioned study focused exclusively on males, indicating the need for research involving female teenagers as well16.

In conclusion, maintaining a healthy blood pressure throughout life is vital. Regular blood pressure monitoring during adolescence and prompt intervention in cases of high blood pressure can significantly reduce the risk of future heart problems. It is essential for medical practitioners to recognize the importance of measuring blood pressure in teens and to implement interventions that promote a healthy lifestyle, making it easy, affordable, and accessible for all individuals.

References


  1. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  2. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  3. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  4. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  5. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  6. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  7. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  8. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  9. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  10. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  11. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  12. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  13. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  14. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  15. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎

  16. Reinberg, S. (2023, September 26). High Blood Pressure Threatens Teen Boys’ Hearts. HealthDay Reporter. Annals of Internal Medicine.↩︎