Researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have found that just under 20% of young adults have high blood pressure. The new study which focused on young adults between the ages of 24-32, found that one in five young adults who have high blood pressure aren’t even informed about their high blood pressure by a physician.
"One important finding was that only 11% of young adults self-reported that a health professional had informed them about their high blood pressure," said lead researcher Kathleen Mullan Harris, in a phone interview with SmartPlanet.
“We were surprised by the figures,” said Harris. “The study is the first of its kind with this age group.”
Harris explained that high blood pressure can be controlled with proper diet and exercise, but if left untreated, it could lead to chronic illness at an earlier age.
"There is a sleeping epidemic among young adults," said Harris.
“High blood pressure can lead to permanent damage, such as heart disease and stroke."
Harris pointed out that most of the evidence points to these young adults eating high calorie foods in combination with a sedentary lifestyle.
"I think that for young adults, this is a transitional period in their lives. They're just coming out of an active period in adolescence, they're in college or starting jobs, which does not give them as much time to be active," said Harris.
"High blood pressure is preventable, but catching it early in life is key," said Harris. "Lifestyle changes should include a moderate diet with low sugar and weight control."
Researchers hope to examine the role of diet and exercise in future studies, but caution that more research and analysis is needed into these findings.
This study was published in the journal Epidemiology.
Image: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain Picture by Harmid
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com