Stressed out teens are more likely to have hypertension, high blood pressure, in later life, according to a new research.
The study was published in the journal Heart. The researchers took an innovative approach to study the psychological aspects and their future impact on blood pressure. They measured the stress in early adulthood and its consequences on blood pressure later in life.
The team of investigators at Icahn School of Medicine in New York examined more than 1.5 million 18-year-old men who were conscripted to the military in Sweden between 1969 and 1997. The young adults underwent psychological testing, including a 30-minute examination to determine their ability to handle stress.
Each recruit was scored from 1-9, with 9 indicating a particularly high resilience. Those who had hypertension at time of their military service were not included in the survey. More than 93,000 of the participants were diagnosed with hypertension by 2012.
The researchers discovered that a low stress resilience score at the age of 18 was associated with increased risk of developing high blood pressure. In other words, the way someone else deals with stress as a teenager predicts the chances of acquiring hypertension in later life.
Young adults who were considered the most susceptible to stress had a 40 percent higher risk of the condition than those who had the highest resilience to stress. Without surprise, when other risk factors for high blood pressure were investigated, a high body mass index (BMI) and type 2 diabetes mellitus played a heavy role.
In addition, the survey showed that men with a combination of low stress resilience and a high BMI in their youth had a more than threefold risk of hypertension in later life.
“These findings suggest that low stress resilience may play an important long-term role in etiological pathways for hypertension. If confirmed, this knowledge may help inform preventive intervention by better addressing psychological risk factors and stress management,” said Dr. Casey Crump, an author of the study.
It is estimated that one in four adults globally suffers from hypertension. It can increase a person’s risk of atherosclerosis, cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, kidney disease and stroke. IMAGE/Newsmax/ DPC