Why do Young Adults Need to Be Concerned About ‘High-Normal’ Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure or hypertension is defined as having a blood pressure reading of over 120/80 mm Hg. A prevalent lifestyle condition, hypertension has always been a disease of the elderly. However, a recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology stated that young adults between ages 18 to 30 years have a slightly higher-than-average blood pressure which is, in fact, their normal blood pressure level. But this ‘high-normal’ pressure among this age group can result in cardiovascular complications in the near future, including conditions like heart failure.
How Does High Blood Pressure Increase Your Risk For Heart Failure?
Heart failure is a severe cardiovascular condition in which the heart cannot pump blood well enough to supply it to the body. This condition is common in older adults with other comorbidities but can occur in young adults in their 20s as well. While heart failure cannot be cured, lifestyle changes can help you lead a good quality of life.
Warning Signs of Heart Failure to Look Out For
If you are in your 20s and have high-normal blood pressure, you need to be extra vigilant about avoiding cardiac risks in your diet and lifestyle. One meaningful way to mitigate the risk of heart problems is to look out for early signs of impending heart failure. The most common of these are:
- Generalised weakness
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic cough
- Sleepiness or drowsiness
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent urination
- Bluish colouration of lips and skin
- Weight gain
- Swelling in different parts of the body, particularly your feet, veins, legs, and ankles
Potential Causes of Heart Failure in Young Adults
High-normal or high blood pressure along with pre-existing coronary heart disease are the most common combination leading to heart failure in older adults. However, some common causes of heart failure in young adults may differ and include:
Congenital heart disease
Type 2 diabetes
When to See a Doctor?
It is usual for young adults to think they are too young for cardiac ailments. However, anyone can experience symptoms like pain in the chest, shortness of breath, dizziness or fainting. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, seek medical care immediately.
If you are hypertensive or have one or more risk factors for heart conditions, you must always look for unusual symptoms. It is always recommended to undergo routine checkups to allow your doctor to monitor health and symptoms and spot early signs of cardiac problems.
How do you Prevent Heart Failure if you are Hypertensive?
Preventing and managing heart failure in young adults is similar to that in older adults. Here are some ways you can reduce your risk for heart failure and other associated cardiac problems:
- Eat a healthy, nutritious diet loaded with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds
- Get at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise regularly
- Use effective stress management techniques
- Avoid smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug abuse
- Visit your doctor for regular checkups and monitor your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and keep your weight in check.
Hypertension in young adults is problematic and can increase their risk for other medical conditions. However, identifying your blood pressure levels and making specific lifestyle changes can help you bring your numbers within normal limits and reduce your risk for more severe heart conditions. If you are experiencing any symptoms of hypertension or cardiac failure, it is best to seek care with your doctor immediately. Learn more about hypertension and how best to manage it on BPinControl.