1 in 5 young athletes suffer from prehypertension: New study warns

A recent preliminary study revealed a worrying trend among young athletes: up to one in five between the ages of 10 and 31 may suffer from pre-hypertension, a precursor to high blood pressure. This condition, if left unchecked, can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.

Key takeaways

Prevalence of pre-hypertension

The study found that more than 20% of the athletes studied met the criteria for high blood pressure.

Adolescent boys appeared to be particularly at risk, showing more than twice the rate of stage 1 and 2 hypertension compared to adolescent girls. Additionally, 28% of multi-sport athletes were found to have high blood pressure.

Blood pressure criteria

According to the American Heart Association, normal blood pressure is 120/80 or lower. Stage 1 hypertension is identified by a systolic reading (top number) of 130-139 and/or a diastolic reading (bottom number) of 80-89.

A systolic reading of 140 or higher and/or a diastolic reading of 90 or higher indicate stage 2 hypertension.

Implications for young athletes

The importance of awareness

Doctors leading the research emphasize that young people should still be encouraged to play sports, as an active lifestyle can reduce the risk of metabolic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and more. heart disease. However, there is a crucial need to raise awareness of the underlying conditions.

«When we think of hypertension, we often think of older patients,» said Dr. Aneeq Malik, lead author and third-year internal medicine resident at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Dr. Malik, who also co-founded the nonprofit Saving Hearts Foundation, held free heart screening events to collect data from the study.

“Even people who we consider to be extremely healthy young adults, people who are engaged physical activitythey are still at increased risk,” Malik added.

He emphasized that the study’s results should not discourage young people from being active: «Just because you play sports doesn’t necessarily mean that’s why these people are at greater risk.»

Expert opinions

The study is being presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Care of the Athletic Heart Conference. Although it has not yet gone through the typical scientific screening process, it raises a significant health concern.

«There is an urgent need to focus more on prevention than on treatment alone,» said Dr. Anuradha Lala, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai Foster Heart Hospital in New York who was not involved in the study. «A big part of prevention is adequate and appropriate screening.»

Dr. Lala also pointed to the importance of understanding the effect of race and ethnicity on the incidence and prevalence of early-life hypertension. The study found higher rates of hypertension in African-American and Hispanic participants.

Recommendations for parents

Multiple factors can contribute to high blood pressure, and Dr. Lala advises parents to address this issue by being aware of their children’s diet, sleep and mental well-being. «It’s important to manage these factors to reduce the risk of developing hypertension,» she said.

Final thoughts

The findings of this study underscore the importance of regular screening and awareness of hypertension in young athletes.

While physical activity is essential for overall health, it is important to monitor it blood pressure and other health indicators to prevent long-term health problems. Parents, coaches, and health care providers should work together to ensure the well-being of young athletes and promote both their physical activity and overall health.

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Information taken from ABC News and Yahoo News

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