The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.
A study of more than 1 million Swedish men followed for up to 50 years found that higher blood pressure (BP) at age 18 was associated with an increased risk for major cardiovascular events later in life, including heart failure, heart attacks, strokes, and mortality. The risk for major cardiac events became elevated, beginning at a BP of 120/80 mm Hg. According to the researchers, early intervention for hypertension may be critical to reducing later cardiovascular events. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Researchers from Umeå University and Uppsala University studied 1,366,519 men enlisted in the Swedish military between 1969 and 1997 to measure the association between high blood pressure in adolescence and risk for cardiovascular events in adulthood. The participants’ baseline BP was measured during conscription.
Using the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines for classifying BP elevation, the baseline BP was classified as elevated at 120 to 129/<80 mm Hg. Based on these measurements, 28.8 percent of participants had an elevated baseline BP and 53.7 percent had a hypertensive baseline BP. Over up to 50 years follow up, the researchers found a substantial and gradual absolute risk increase across BP categories for all major cardiovascular outcomes in adulthood.
One in 10 adolescents with combined stage 2 hypertension would have a major cardiovascular event before retirement, whereas those with BP below 120/80mmHg would not.