New research from Johns Hopkins has demonstrated that young people with higher blood pressure levels are at increased risk of heart failure by the age of 50.  The new research showed that blood pressure readings of people in their 20s with a higher range than normal were connected to heart weaknesses in middle age. This suggests that the best option is to stop hypertension early to avoid heart failure later.

Dr. Joao Lima of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, and senior author, said, “Our findings provide further support for the importance of good risk factor control early in life.”

He said in a release that, “Many participants were not hypertensive at the beginning of the study; however, chronic exposure to higher blood pressure, even within what is considered the normal range, is associated with cardiac dysfunction 25 years later.”

Research began in 1985 by following 2479 men and women from ages 18 to 30, and checking their blood pressure seven times over 25 years.

The  “cumulative blood pressure exposure” was calculated by multiplying systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure (between beats) at each of the seven checkups by the year they were measured. Healthy blood pressure in adults should be less than 120 over 80 millimeters, and high is  140 over 90 or more.

At the end of the study the researchers used to observe the shape and function of the participants’ hearts.

Using echocardiographs, the study concluded that, by the age of 50, 135 of the subjects had left ventricle dysfunction, synonymous with weak hearts. According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, those whose blood pressure was higher at an earlier age were more likely to have this problem than those with lower blood pressure. High blood pressure also caused scarring and thicker blood, making it harder for the heart to pump.

Doctors recommend watching blood pressure early in life to avoid risks of heart problems and failure later in life.

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