High Blood Pressure in Under 40s Linked to Heart Failure


People aged under 40 who have high blood pressure are more at risk of having heart problems when they get older, according to a new study.

The study found that the risk of heart failure, stroke and blood vessel blockages were increased in these people.

New guidelines

New guidelines on what is classed as high blood pressure were published by the American Heart Association (AHA) in 2017. These lower the definition of high blood pressure from 140/90mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg.

The greatest impact of this is that more young people are now likely to be classed as having high blood pressure. When the guidelines were published, it was thought that the prevalence of high blood pressure would triple in men aged under 45 years, and double in women aged under 45.


This new study from Duke University Medical Center in the US used the new guidelines and looked at the impact of people younger than 40 having high blood pressure.

The researchers analysed 4,851 adults who had their blood pressure taken before the age of 40 as part of a Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study, which began in 1985.

The participants were sorted into four groups based on the new AHA blood pressure levels: normal, elevated, stage 1 hypertension and stage 2 hypertension. They were tracked over the following 19 years to find out if they developed any heart problems.

Subsequent cardiovascular events

Overall, 228 heart problems happened: 109 reports of coronary heart disease; 63 strokes; 48 heart failures; and 8 peripheral artery disease.

The rate of heart problems occurring increased with successively higher blood pressure levels.

Lead author of the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Yuichiro Yano, said: “Among young adults, those with elevated blood pressure, stage 1 hypertension, and stage 2 hypertension before age 40, as defined by the 2017 guidelines, had significantly higher risk for subsequent cardiovascular disease events, compared to those with normal blood pressure before age 40.”

Treating high blood pressure

The study highlights the impact of high blood pressure on people of any age, and suggests that identifying and treating the condition in younger people might have long-term benefit.

Lifestyle changes are usually advised in people with elevated blood pressure, such as cutting down salt intake, getting more exercise, losing weight and stopping smoking.


This article was written by a third party source and does not reflect the views or opinions of Ramsay Health Care unless explicitly stated.

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