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Hypertension, Prehypertension in Youngsters Linked With Heart Enlargement

t National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC-7). Devereux said this is the first large population-based study to examine the heart changes associated with the new JNC-7 category of hypertension.

"Previous research has found little difference comparing middle-aged to elderly overweight hypertensive white, black and American-Indian adults, suggesting that Indian populations are not unique, and may provide a preview of what other populations may experience as overweight and obesity rates increase," he said.

Researchers analyzed the association of prehypertension and early-onset hypertension with clinical characteristics and changes in heart structure and function in 1,944 participants (57.5 percent women) of the Strong Heart Study, an ongoing study of cardiovascular risk factors and disease in 13 American-Indian communities. In data collected from health examinations conducted between July 2001 and September 2003, researchers found early-onset hypertension in 294 participants (15 percent) and prehypertension in 675 participants (35 percent).

Both hypertensive and prehypertensive participants were more likely to be men, obese, have diabetes, and have impaired fasting glucose. Hypertensive and prehypertensive participants had higher average pulse pressure (the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure values), stroke volume index (related to the volume of blood the heart pumps out at each beat), and total peripheral resistance index (a reflection of how constricted peripheral blood vessels are – peripheral constriction causes blood pressure to rise). There was an early prevalence of increased arterial stiffness with multiple features related to insulin resistance.

"The frequency of heart abnormalities in these younger participants is similar to that found in the middle-age or adult population of hypertensives who are at risk for adverse events," Dever
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