SAN FRANCISCO — Organ damage from high blood pressure doesn’t only occur in adults; it can also happen in teenagers, according to research presented today at the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions 2017 in San Francisco.
And the damage to the heart and blood vessels can occur in youth at blood pressure levels that are below the clinical definition of hypertension in youth.
High blood pressure in youth is defined differently than it is in adults. In childhood, high blood pressure is based on percentiles, rather than blood pressure level. Researchers looked at whether organ damage in teens develops below the 95th percentile, which is the clinical definition of high blood pressure in youth.
Researchers studied blood pressure and measured organ damage in 180 teenagers (14-17 years old, 64 percent white, 57 percent males). They found evidence of organ damage even among the youth categorized as “normal” with blood pressure less than in the 80th percentile. They also found heart and vessel damage in the mid-risk group, which had blood pressures in the 80th to 90th percentiles and the high-risk group, with blood pressures above the 90thpercentile.
“Some adolescents may have organ damage related to blood pressure and are not targeted for therapy,” said Elaine M. Urbina, M.D., M.S., study author and director of preventive cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio. “Imaging of the heart may be useful in youth in the high-normal range of blood pressure to determine how aggressive therapy should be.”
Statements and conclusions of study authors that are presented at American Heart Association and American Stroke Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect association policy or position. The association makes no representation or warranty as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at www.heart.org/corporatefunding.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.