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High Blood Pressure Before 30 Indicates Risk of Heart Problems Later
New studies indicate that young people with prehypertension are more likely to have heart problems later in life. Read more about how to lower your risk today below.
A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2015 has found that young adults with even slightly above normal blood pressure ranges could be more likely to develop serious health problems later in life. The researchers found that high blood pressure at a younger age indicates an unhealthier lifestyle that could result in big changes as the person ages. Just like minor calculation errors can have disastrous results in space, small changes made today can have big effects later in life.
Read more to find the connection between youthful blood pressure and health later in life:
The study authors began the study using data from individuals who enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study during 1985 and 1886. The researchers tracked the blood pressure rating of nearly 2,500 adults over a 25-year period with seven different test periods. The researchers particularly wanted to examine if small blood pressure changes in early life could predict the development of heart problems later in life.
Study authors found that study participants who had blood pressure between 120/80 to 139/89 at age 30 and younger were more likely to have high blood pressure and heart disease when they reached middle age. Strangely, this blood pressure rating is not even considered “high” but is rather dubbed as “prehypertension.”
Ordinarily, this blood pressure rating is not considered to be dangerous, but these study findings indicate that slightly elevated blood pressure at a young age is a predictor for heart problems later in life.
In the past, high blood pressure was defined as anything over 140/90. However, recent studies have found that individuals with blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90 are at an increased risk for heart problems and stroke.
Even though the study participants were otherwise healthy while they were young, they still were more likely to have heart problems as they god older. This indicates that keeping blood pressure low is a vital process even at a young age. Choices made during youth can have an effect on a person’s lifelong health. The goal of young adults should be to keep their blood pressure at 120/80 or lower. According to research, blood pressure readings between 90/80 and 120/80 are considered ideal. Anything under 90/80 is considered low blood pressure and can cause its own set of health problems, often causing dizziness, blackouts, and lack of energy. Taking steps to keep your blood pressure low while you are younger can help prevent dangerous heart problems as you age.
As 120/80 is seen as the healthiest blood pressure reading, some doctors may prescribe blood-pressure lowering medication to individuals who fall between the 120 and 140 blood pressure readings. However, multiple studies have shown that this may actually cause more problems than it solves. A study of over 22,000 patients with high blood pressure published in The Annals of Internal Medicine in 2006 found that blood pressure medication was beneficial for health when lowering blood pressure to 136/85.
However, when patients continued to take medication to further lower their blood pressure to the ideal 120/80, the health benefits stopped. In fact, the health risks actually increased when medication was taken to lower blood pressure past 136/85. The researchers theorized that when blood pressure drops too rapidly, the heart receives fewer nutrients and less oxygen. This is because the heart is fueled during diastole (when the heart fills with blood after contracting). If diastole pressure drops suddenly, the heart is not getting enough oxygen or nutrients, leading to serious heart complications.
If blood pressure medication is recommended and your readings are not higher than 136/85, you may not want to take the medication in case it causes more problems than it heals. At these readings, lifestyle changes are typically enough to drop blood pressure down to healthy levels without complication.
Take charge of your health with these natural methods to reduce blood pressure:
You can’t control your blood pressure if you don’t know what it is. Your doctor will check your blood pressure every time you visit (some dentists check blood pressure as well) and alert you if it is creeping up. However, sometimes your blood pressure is abnormally high when facing a medical professional. This is so common it is known as “white coat hypertension.” Blood pressure can spike as high as 15 to 20 points higher due to anxiety at the doctor’s office.
If your blood pressure readings are always high at the doctor’s office (and you feel anxiety during visits), try taking your blood pressure at home or at a pharmacy. You are likely to get a more accurate reading during these times. Doctors recommend taking blood pressure early in the day before you are active and before eating. Do not talk or move while taking your blood pressure. Your legs should not be crossed and you should hold your hand over your heart. If your at-home or pharmacy readings are always in the safe levels, but your levels always spike at the doctor’s office, let them know about your anxiety and average blood pressure readings.
Smoking can increase blood pressure and also has a wide variety of other health risks. In general, non-smokers have lower blood pressure and fewer health risks than smokers.
Exercise temporarily raises blood pressure, but in the long run, it has a positive effect on your blood pressure. According to The Mayo Clinic, exercise strengthens the heart and makes it easier for it to pump blood. When the heart works hard, you have higher blood pressure. Think of it like breathing. When breathing is easy, you use less energy. But when you run, you use more energy and breathing becomes harder. The same idea is true for blood pressure. However, in this case, exercise makes pumping blood easier.
The Mayo Clinic states that regular exercise (about 30 minutes of cardio exercise 3-4 times a week) can lower your top blood pressure number by up to 9 points, which is as good as some blood pressure medication. If you already have a healthy blood pressure reading, exercise can prevent it from creeping up as you age. The protective effects of exercise only last as long as you are exercising. Exercise definitely follows the “use it or lose it” principle.
A healthy diet is essential in preventing high blood pressure. Unhealthy junk foods, excessive amounts of salt, and sugar can all contribute to inflammation, hormone imbalance, narrowing of blood vessels, and other dangerous side effects that can cause high blood pressure and worse health problems. Stick to a healthy diet filled with vegetables and fruit, protein, healthy fats (like coconut oil, olive oil, and animal fats from pasture-raised animals), and healthy carbs (whole grains and minimally-processed grains). For the most part, vegetables, fat, and protein should make up most of your diet, with a smaller percentage of fruit, carbs, and sugars. Processed foods should be avoided as much as possible and trans fats should never be consumed.
White coat hypertension is attributed in recent studies to a stronger stress and anxiety response. Researchers guess that if blood pressure spikes during doctor’s office visits, this indicates an unhealthier response to stressful situations that can have long-term damaging effects. Even if your blood pressure is healthy when you are relaxed, if you cannot handle stress properly, you are at a higher risk for developing heart-related problems later in life. Taking time to de-stress and unwind at the end of the day can have noticeable benefits on your overall health. Even just breathing through stress and anxiety can have a positive effect on blood pressure. Yoga, meditation, and stress management techniques also work to prevent blood pressure spikes.
Individuals who are overweight tend to have higher blood pressure because inflammation and weight gain constrict the blood vessels. By dropping excess pounds, you can improve your blood pressure. Usually, sticking to a healthy diet and exercising regularly will help you shed excess pounds.
If your blood pressure is in the “prehypertension” range, use these nutrients and herbs to drop it down to healthy levels quickly:
These new studies indicate that your blood pressure is not only an indicator of your present health, but also an indicator of your future health. Young people with higher blood pressure are more likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes when they age than young people with normal to low blood pressure. It is important to take steps throughout life to prevent health problems rather than simply seeking treatment once the problem arrives. You may not be able to completely eliminate your risk of developing heart problems later in life, but if you manage your blood pressure starting today, your risks will drop and you will have a much healthier life.
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