Why Does Hypertension Matter in Young Adults?
Undiagnosed and untreated hypertension can cause severe cardiovascular conditions like stroke, heart attacks, heart failure, or sudden cardiac death. Though these conditions may sound prevalent in older adults, lifestyle diseases like hypertension and type 2 diabetes have become increasingly common among young adults. There are many causes of high blood pressure in young adults, but did you know that young adults are less likely to know or seek care for their high blood pressure levels? Despite the worrying facts, adults between 20 to 35 years must take high blood pressure at young age seriously.
What is High Blood Pressure Among Young Adults?
Before we understand more about the size of the problem, we must know what high blood pressure is. Blood pressure has two parameters– systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure of blood against the walls of your arteries when your heart is beating, and diastolic pressure is the pressure on the arterial walls between two heartbeats. The normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mm Hg.
When the systolic blood pressure lies between 120-129 mm Hg and the diastolic is at 80 mm Hg, blood pressure levels are elevated. Having blood pressure above 130/80 mm Hg is called hypertension. While blood pressure increases with age, many young adults today usually have high blood pressure owing to their unhealthy lifestyle.
Common Risk Factors
Though the exact reasons for high BP at a young age is challenging to point out, some common risk factors include:
- Being overweight or obese
- High blood cholesterol
- Lack of physical activity or exercise
- Excessive consumption of sodium
- Deficient consumption of potassium in the diet
- Alcohol consumption
- Chronic stress
- Deficiency of vitamin D
Why Does High Blood Pressure Among Young Adults Matter?
Whether you are in your 20s or 30s, your blood pressure matters. Having elevated blood pressure puts a significant strain on your heart muscles and blood vessels, leading to severe medical conditions and cardiac complications later in life. In addition, having high blood pressure levels early in life puts you at significant risk for stroke, kidney disease, eye conditions, and even death in the middle ages. Apart from health implications, high blood pressure can have profound financial consequences in the latter part of your life.
How Can You Mitigate Hypertension?
Preventing and managing hypertension is essential and relatively easy in the early stages. Here are some ways by which you can mitigate hypertension:
- Reduce your salt/sodium intake: Excessive sodium in the blood increases water retention in the body, increasing fluid volume. It increases blood pressure and puts a strain on your heart.
- Increase your potassium intake: While you lower your sodium intake, you must increase your potassium intake within optimum limits as it is known to reduce blood pressure.
- Follow a DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet: Make a few changes to your diet to include fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products, and follow a DASH diet. It is effective in bringing down your blood pressure levels within normal limits.
- Increase your aerobic physical activity: Lack of physical activity is one of the primary causes of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and heart diseases. You must get a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. Get moving and choose an aerobic activity of your choice– brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or running. Regular exercising helps you maintain a healthy weight (prevents obesity) and strengthens your heart muscles.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption increases your blood pressure levels, and so, reducing the number of drinks per week or altogether avoiding alcohol can bring your numbers within normal limits.
- Quit smoking: Smoking is a high-risk factor for hypertension and cardiac ailments. So no matter your age quit smoking to keep your health parameters in check and your risk for heart diseases low.
- Stress management: Youngsters today lead hectic lives flooded with issues at work and home. Though it is essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance, few can do so. Stress releases hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and adrenaline, eliciting a response from the body. During chronic stress, the blood level of cortisol is high, which triggers a rise in blood pressure levels. To avoid this, you must practice stress management activities like meditation, yoga, mindfulness or pursue a hobby that relaxes your mind and body.
Despite the prevalence and growing incidence of hypertension in youngsters, a healthy lifestyle and adequate and prompt treatment can help you manage the condition and lead a good quality of life. Read more about hypertension among young adults and the best ways to manage it on BPinControl.