Researchers have marked a number of factors that can help identify young people who are at risk of developing high blood pressure by around age 38. “These included being male, having a family history of high blood pressure, being first born and being born lower birthweight,” said lead study author Reremoana Theodore from University of Otago in New Zealand.
“This new information is useful for screening purposes to help clinicians identify young people who may develop high blood pressure later in adulthood,” Theodore said. The findings are based on data from a study, which has tracked more than a 1,000 people born in New Zealand’s Dunedin city in 1972-1973 from birth to the present.
Using blood pressure information collected between the ages of seven to 38 years, researchers identified study members as belonging to one of four different blood pressure groups. They found that more than a third of them were at risk of developing clinically high blood pressure levels by early mid-life.
The study also showed that having a higher body mass index (a measure of overweight and obesity) and cigarette smoking over time were associated with increasing blood pressure levels over time, especially for individuals in the higher blood pressure groups.
Those individuals in the higher blood pressure groups were also more likely to have other negative health related conditions by age 38 years including higher blood cholesterol levels.
“Our findings can be used to inform early detection, targeted prevention and/or intervention to help reduce the burden associated with this silent killer,” Theodore said.
The research was published in the international journal Hypertension.