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Teens with high blood pressure have less distress, better quality of life
Date:5/3/2013

lity of life was also rated better by adolescents with high blood pressure, with higher scores in the areas of family life, self-esteem, and physical well-being.

The difference in quality of life remained significant after adjustment for other factors, and was supported by parental ratings of fewer emotional, conduct, and other problems. Teens with high blood pressure were also less likely to have problems with hyperactivity.

Associations May Reflect High Achievement, Repressed Emotions, or?

High blood pressure is one of the most frequent chronic conditions, leading to high rates of illness and death. It can remain asymptomatic for years, causing blood vessel and organ damage if not detected and controlled.

Hypertension may start in childhood and adolescence, persisting into adulthood. Previous studies have found lower levels of psychological distress in adults who have high blood pressure but are unaware of it. In contrast, quality of life appears to be reduced for patients whose hypertension is diagnosed and treated.

The new study finds similar, "seemingly contradictory" results in adolescents. Although their study can't conclusively explain the associations, Dr Berendes and coauthors discuss some possible theories:

  • Teens who are more achievement-oriented and do better in school may experience increased stress, leading to higher blood pressurebut also to better self-esteem and quality of life.
  • Some teens may repress their negative emotions, causing them to have higher blood pressureas well as to give higher ratings of psychological functioning and quality of life.
  • High blood pressure may actually act to dampen negative emotionssome studies have suggested that a rise in blood pressure may reduce perceived stress.

Whatever the explanations, the new study finds highly consistent links between high blood pressures, lower distress, and higher quality of life, suggesting "a real a
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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