(HealthDay News) — Hypertension may precede premature cardiac damage in young adults, according to a study published online in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Andrew O. Agbaje, MD, from University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, used data from 1856 17-year-olds participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, UK birth cohort, who were followed-up for 7 years to examine the longitudinal course for the development of hypertension and cardiac damage in adolescents.

Analysis showed that the prevalence of elevated systolic blood pressure (BP) increased from 6.4 to 12.2%, left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy from 3.6 to 7.2%, and LV diastolic dysfunction from 11.1 to 16.3%. There was an association noted between cumulative elevated systolic BP and worsening LV hypertrophy in females (odds ratio, 1.61). In both males and females, elevated systolic BP was associated with worsening LV diastolic dysfunction. There was an association seen between elevated diastolic BP and worsening LV hypertrophy in both males and females. Higher baseline systolic BP was associated with LV diastolic function (β = 0.09), but not LV mass indexed for height2.7 at follow-up. Higher baseline cardiac indices were not associated with systolic BP at follow-up, but higher baseline diastolic BP was associated with follow-up higher cardiac indices, except LV diastolic function.

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“This novel evidence on the deleterious effect of high blood pressure and primary hypertension on the heart of the young population is alarming,” Agbaje said in a statement.

Abstract/Full Text