Heightened Blood Pressure in Adolescents – Low Sleep Quality and Duration Could Be a Cause

Mar 3, 2009 by

Heightened Blood Pressure in Adolescents – Low Sleep Quality and Duration Could Be a Cause

High blood pressure is not something which is limited to adults and older persons; in today’s world, the young ones are susceptible, too.

With high blood pressure, or hypertension, being linked to other serious diseases, such as stroke, it is definitely not something to be taken lightly. And a recent study has shown that something as simple as lack of sleep or poor sleep can raise blood pressure levels in adolescents.

Poor Sleep and Lack of Sleep Can Cause Elevated Blood Pressure in Adolescents

by Reuben Chow

Think that hypertension is a condition which strikes only adults and those more advanced in their years? Think again.

Recent research conducted at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, has suggested that lack of sleep as well as poor sleep quality can cause elevated blood pressure levels in healthy adolescents. These associations could not be explained by being overweight, socioeconomic status, sleep apnea, or known comorbidities.

About Blood Pressure, Hypertension and Prehypertension

Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood acting against the walls of our arteries and varies throughout the day. When blood pressure levels remain elevated over a sustained period of time, one then has “high blood pressure”, medically referred to as “hypertension”.

So what’s the big deal about high blood pressure? It is potentially dangerous because it causes the heart to overwork, and also contributes to the hardening of one’s arteries. Risks of suffering heart disease and stroke – two of the top killers in the US – are thus increased. Other health conditions, for example congestive heart failure, kidney disease and blindness, can also result from hypertension.

“Prehypertension”, on the other hand, is a term used to describe the state whereby one does not have high blood pressure right now, but is likely to get it in the future. In other words, your blood pressure is high, but not quite high enough yet to qualify for an official diagnosis of hypertension. Prehypertension in adolescents was what the Case Western study looked at.

Hypertension Statistics

According to the American Heart Association, a whopping 73 million people in the US aged 20 and above are estimated to have high blood pressure; that is about one in every three adults. In 2004, the death rates from hypertension for every 100,000 people were 15.7 for white males, 51.0 for black males, 14.5 for white females and 40.9 for black females. In that year, high blood pressure killed 54,707 people in the US alone.

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