The Young and the HypertensiveIN HEART HEALTH
If you’re a young adult, you probably haven’t given a second thought to hypertension (high blood pressure). After all, only older adults have high blood pressure, right? Not necessarily. A recent study shows nearly one in five younger adults has hypertension, which means you could be at risk.
Researchers for the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health studied 14,000 men and women ages 24 to 32 and found that nearly 20 percent had hypertension. Blood pressure is the pressure that blood exerts against the walls of the blood vessels as the heart pumps. Having a high amount of pressure puts strain on both the heart and the organs receiving the blood, and this extra workload can damage these organs over time. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack or stroke.
Who Can Be Affected?
Although hypertension is most common in older individuals, it is possible to develop the condition very early on. In fact, hypertension can develop even younger than your twenties. An estimated 3 percent of children have high blood pressure. What’s causing this problem to occur at a younger age? The study seems to indicate that hypertension among younger people is directly associated with unhealthy lifestyles.
Easing the Tension
The best way to reduce your risk of hypertension is to maintain healthy habits. Be sure to:
- Eat a low-fat diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Keep stress levels in check.
- Reduce your salt intake.
- Take medications, if necessary.
- Quit smoking.
| Parsley Tabbouleh
This heart-healthy recipe is the perfect snacktime treat to enjoy with crackers or by itself.
Combine water and bulgur in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand until water is absorbed. Drain bulgur and transfer to a large bowl. Let cool 15 minutes. To make dressing, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add parsley, mint, tomatoes, cucumber and scallions to bulgur. Add dressing and toss. Serve chilled.
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Sources: msnbc.msn.com, heart.org, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, kidshealth.org, eatingwell.com
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