UCSF study links prehypertension in young adulthood to calcium in coronary arteries later in life

By Kristen Bole

Young adults with a low-level elevation in their blood pressure (“Prehypertension”) before age 35 are more likely to have calcium in their coronary arteries later in life, predisposing them to a higher risk of strokes and heart attacks, according to a UCSF study published in the July 15 issue of “Annals of Internal Medicine.” The study analyzed blood pressure in 3,560 adults aged 18 to 30 over the course of 20 years and measured coronary calcium at the end of the study.

UCSF epidemiologist Mark J. Pletcher, MD, MPH, who led the research, says the results show that prehypertension before the age of 35 itself may be harmful, not simply because it is associated with high blood pressure later in life. Prehypertension is classified as systolic blood pressure 120 to 139 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure 80 to 89 mmHg.

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