Young Adults And High-Blood Pressure

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Kerry Corum

Everyone gets a bit stressed out in our fast-paced society, but some young adults are so stressed out, they're at risk for developing high blood pressure.

Like many of us, 30-year-old Matt Sincinski has a high-stress job. He says, "The littlest things seem to set me off, and I feel like I have to keep producing, keep producing."

That stress has physical effects. He says, "I get a funny headache, or a funny pain in my head, and this rushing sound in my ears of a freight train, and I know that my blood pressure is elevated."

Doctors gave Matt his own blood pressure machine, so he can track his levels himself. Normal blood pressure is below 120/80. Matt says, "It's 185 over 119", dangerously high.

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that specific psychosocial factors can contribute to a young adult's long-term risk for high blood pressure.

Lijiing Yan, Ph.D., MPH., of Northwestern University tells us, "Some people are more relaxed and laid back, and some person may be more - feel the pressure to be more -  intense, than other people, even though the pressure may be the same."

Dr. Lijiing Yan and colleagues at Northwestern University, and three other institutions, studied health data on more than 3000 young adults, tracking their health for 15-years.

They found that two psychosocial factors had a dramatic impact on risk of developing high blood pressure years later. Time urgency/impatience, which essentially means always in a hurry and completely stressed out if made to wait. And hostility, which means cynicism, distrust of others, and hostile interactions with others.

Those two psychosocial traits greatly increased a young adult's risk of developing high blood pressure later. Dr. Yan says, "The effects of psychosocial factors on physical health, may not be immediate. It may take some time for their impacts to become apparent."

Matt already feels the impact. He says, "My big fear is, like, I'm going to be 32-years-old, and drop dead from a heart attack, or something."

He's getting treatment and trying to reduce the stress in his life so that doesn't happen.

Ad doctors say one good way to relieve stress,is to exercise regularly.

If you think you have intense reactions to stress, or you are concerned about your blood pressure, talk with your doctor.

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