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Why do Young Adults Need to Be Concerned About ‘High-Normal’ Blood Pressure?

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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
  • Fatigue
  • 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:

  • Obesity

    Obesity is a metabolic condition characterised by increased fat deposits in your body. Being overweight or obese increases your blood pressure levels and, subsequently, the pressure on your heart. These risk factors can cause a heart attack in young adults.

  • Sleep apnea

    Sleep apnea is a disorder in which breathing stops and starts repeatedly in sleep. A few symptoms of this condition include sleepiness or drowsiness during daytime, restless or light sleep, and snoring. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to heart diseases and depression.

  • Pregnancy

    Though rare, the increased strain on the heart muscles can cause heart failure in some women during childbirth.

  • Congenital heart disease

    In some people with congenital heart defects, a chronic rise in blood pressure can increase their risk for heart attack and heart failure.

  • Hypertension

    When you have high blood pressure, it forces the heart to pump with greater force, leading to a thickening in the left ventricle. This thickening of the left ventricle can increase the risk for young people’s heart attacks, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death.

  • Type 2 diabetes

    People with type 2 diabetes have double the risk of developing heart failure. Also, most young adults who have uncontrolled or undiagnosed type 2 diabetes tend to develop hypertension, eventually increasing their risk of heart failure.

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.

Conclusion

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.

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