Teen risk factors lead to higher BP
TEENAGERS do not get away with unfavourable lifestyle behaviours such as alcohol consumption, high salt intake and a lack of exercise, a WA analysis of blood pressure levels has shown.
Using adult blood pressure (BP) definitions, the research showed 24% of 17-year-olds were pre-hypertensive or hypertensive, while 34% of the overweight and 38% of the obese participants were in these high BP categories.
The cross-sectional analysis of 1248 participants in the Western Australian Pregnancy (Raine) study demonstrated an association between increased BP and alcohol consumption in boys and use of the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) among girls.
High salt intake, increased BMI and low levels of physical activity were also linked to higher BP.
Boys had systolic BP 9mmHg higher than girls not taking the OCP, the study showed. The systolic BP of girls taking the OCP – 30% of the group – was 3.3mmHg higher than non- users, and increased with BMI.
Blood pressure among the girls was not affected by alcohol consumption.
Speaking on behalf of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of Australia, Professor Simon Stewart said “it is never too early” for a GP to measure BP in a teenager who presented for any reason, especially if they were overweight, had an alcohol problem or if the pill was being prescribed.
Heart Foundation clinical issues director, Dr Rob Grenfell, said there was a reason for using contraception in this population. It was about managing people on an individual basis, he said, and this study would not influence his prescribing habits.
Eur J Prev Cardiol 2012; 11 July