Hypertension in young people: Can't be ignored
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a prevalent condition affecting young people today. With a prevalence rate ranging from 5% to 12%, hypertension in individuals under 35 years old can have significant impacts on health and work performance. Extensive studies have shown that hypertension in young people can lead to the early development of atherosclerosis, the progression of cardiovascular diseases, and other potential risks.
Recognizing the importance of early detection and treatment, healthcare professionals emphasize the need to address hypertension in young people to prevent complications and reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease.
Understanding Hypertension in Young People:
Hypertension in young people often goes unnoticed, as it is frequently discovered incidentally during routine health check-ups or when patients seek medical attention for other reasons. Alarmingly, up to 70% of young people with hypertension do not exhibit typical symptoms such as headaches or dizziness.
In contrast to older individuals, hypertension in young people is characterized by elevated lower blood pressure readings, such as 120/95 mmHg, rather than an increase in the upper blood pressure number. Additionally, atypical signs of hypertension in young people may manifest as difficulty controlling emotions, frequent anger, reduced concentration, and compromised work performance and communication skills.
Hypertension in young people has far-reaching consequences, including an increased risk of cardiovascular complications and cerebrovascular accidents. Moreover, young people with high blood pressure are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual dysfunction compared to those with normal blood pressure. This risk further escalates when hypertension coexists with other conditions like diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Emotional disturbances, such as heightened anger, loss of temper, and mood fluctuations, are also prevalent among young individuals with hypertension.
These psychological challenges often hinder effective treatment as individuals may struggle to accept their hypertension diagnosis, perceiving themselves as healthy and normal. Furthermore, the fear of potential career implications may lead some individuals to conceal their condition.
Understanding the Causes:
While the causes of hypertension in older individuals are often idiopathic (without an identifiable cause) in approximately 95% of cases, hypertension in young people has a higher likelihood of having identifiable underlying causes. Potential causes may include chronic kidney disease, hormonal imbalances, heavy alcohol consumption, smoking (including passive smoking), obesity, stress, sedentary lifestyles, overeating, and excessive alcohol intake.
Preventing hypertension in young people requires a multifaceted approach that combines lifestyle modifications and proactive measures.
The following prevention strategies are recommended:
Implement a weight loss diet that is low in sugar and fat, while being high in protein and fiber. It is important to focus on reducing portion sizes rather than skipping meals entirely. Avoid snacking and opt for light, nutritious meals. Limit daily salt intake to no more than 2-4 grams, which includes both added salt and naturally occurring sodium in foods.
Consume foods rich in potassium (found in bananas, coconut water, white beans), calcium (available in milk, shrimp, crab), and magnesium (abundant in meat) to support cardiovascular health. Choose protein sources from fish and plant-based options rather than pork, beef, or chicken.
Limit excessive consumption of sugary foods, even in the absence of diabetes, and minimize the intake of animal fats. Increase the consumption of green vegetables and fruits to obtain essential minerals, vitamins, and dietary fiber. It is also important to restrict alcohol intake.
Engage in regular physical activity for 30-45 minutes every day. Incorporate various types of exercises such as walking, jogging, and cycling, ensuring the intensity is suitable for individual fitness levels. Avoid excessive exertion and listen to your body's cues to avoid overexertion.
Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle:
Cultivate a regular and stable lifestyle by establishing consistent sleep patterns, managing stress levels, and avoiding emotional and anxious states. Adequate sleep is essential for overall health and blood pressure regulation.
Quit smoking and avoid exposure to secondhand smoke, as smoking contributes to high blood pressure and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Follow prescribed medication regimens diligently and consult with healthcare professionals regarding any concerns or side effects. It is crucial not to stop taking medication without medical guidance.
Hypertension in young people is a significant health concern with the potential for serious long-term consequences. Early detection and effective management are critical to prevent complications and reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases.
By implementing lifestyle modifications, such as adopting a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress levels, and avoiding risk factors like smoking and excessive alcohol intake, young individuals can take proactive steps to prevent hypertension.
Regular medical check-ups, adherence to prescribed treatment plans, and open communication with healthcare professionals are essential for successfully managing hypertension in young people. Ultimately, prioritizing the prevention and treatment of hypertension in young individuals is crucial to ensuring their long-term health and well-being.