Features of and preventive measures against hypertension in the young.


Department of Internal Medicine, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan. [Email]


The Japanese hypertension guidelines report that essential hypertension is detected in 1-3% of upper elementary and high school students during blood pressure (BP) screenings. Hypertension in these age groups is an emerging public health concern mainly attributed to the rising rate of pediatric obesity. Considering the existence of BP tracking phenomenon, early preventive education and instruction are necessary, especially for male students with moderately elevated BP showing a tendency toward obesity, despite the low prevalence of hypertension in high school students. Students with a positive family history of hypertension and those born with low birth weight need the same measures. Lifestyle habits, such as increased alcohol intake, dramatically change once students begin university; thus, early education and instruction regarding the factors influencing BP are necessary. In particular, for male students with higher BP during high school, caution regarding increased body weight is required irrespective of their level of obesity. Young adults aged <40 years should be educated about the association between body weight and hypertension. Particular caution surrounding lifestyle habits, including drinking and smoking, is warranted in male hypertensive subjects because hypertension at a young age is strongly associated with obesity. BP monitoring and the management of obesity should be considered efficient approaches to the detection and treatment of hypertension. For the lifetime prevention of hypertension, it is essential to be aware of one's health status and learn about healthy lifestyles beginning in childhood. BP measurement may be an appropriate means to achieve this goal.


Blood pressure measurement,Lifestyle,Low birth weight,Obesity,Young hypertension,