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Why Watch Your Blood Pressure While You’re Young?

Blood pressure that’s on the high side of normal in young adults could forewarn heart trouble later in life. Researchers led by a team at Johns Hopkins followed nearly 2,500 young men and women for 25 years. Some of the participants, who all were between the ages of 18 and 30 when the study began, had blood pressure that was slightly elevated, although still in the normal range. When the study ended, the investigators found that the participants whose blood pressure was high normal were more likely to have left ventricular dysfunction in middle age. This type of heart damage is a major cause of heart failure. The researchers reported that the higher the blood pressure measured in youth, the greater the damage to the left ventricle. They said their findings suggest that young adults should try to reduce slightly high blood pressure by cutting sodium intake, maintaining an ideal body weight, being physically active and sticking to any recommended treatments for high blood pressure. The lead investigator noted that if you’re under 50, your blood pressure goal should be under 130/80.