Stress in early adulthood may lead to heighted risk of high blood pressure

2 February 2016        

Blood pressure assessment A new study from the online journal Heart suggests a link between the tendency to become easily stressed in adolescents and a heightened risk of developing high blood pressure in later life.

The research looked at more than 1.5 million 18-year-old men with normal blood pressure, who had been conscripted to the army in Sweden between 1969 and 1997 until the end of 2012 and were assessed for their levels of stress resilience.  

At the end of the study, those who were more prone to stress a at the age of 18 were associated with a heightened risk of high blood pressure.

The study also shows an increase in the number of cases of high blood pressure, if a young person is overweight.

Managing stress

British Heart Foundation Senior Cardiac Nurse, Emily Reeve, said: 

“This is an interesting study which highlights that how we manage stress can contribute to our individual risk of developing high blood pressure in later life. It also indicates that the ways that we manage stress are complex and include both behavioural and physiological factors.

“The study also demonstrated that being overweight was linked with an increased risk of developing high blood pressure. 

“However, further research is needed to consider how this impacts on different population groups and with consideration of how other risk factors may impact the results. 

“It is important that people reduce their risk of being overweight by staying active and eating a healthy well balanced diet to improve your chances of not developing high blood pressure.”