One in Five Young Adults Has High Blood Pressure

June 1, 2011

Researchers took blood pressure readings from more than 14,000 men and women between the ages of 24 and 32.

Almost 19% of young adults have high blood pressure, according to just-released analysis from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, supported by NIH, researchers took blood pressure readings from more than 14,000 men and women between the ages of 24 and 32.

NIH says that the findings differ from those of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which reported a lower number, only 4%, of young adults ages 20- to 39-years-old as having high blood pressure. Researchers were unable to account for this difference.

“We explored several possible explanations for the difference between this study and NHANES, including participant characteristics, where they were examined, and the types of devices for measuring blood pressure. None of these factors could account for the differences in estimates between the two surveys,” stated Kathleen Mullan Harris, PhD, the study’s principal investigator.

The study defined high blood pressure as 140/90 millimeters of mercury or greater. The researchers note that many young people are unaware they may have high blood pressure.

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