Throughout college, as a student-athlete, I used to get a slight feeling of tightness on the right side of my chest. Minutes later, that feeling would be gone and I would continue to run without pain. Then, 24 hours later, the tightness returned and I became concerned. I checked with an RN at my university’s health center the next day, and it was determined the tightness in my chest was likely caused by my high blood pressure. Wait a minute! Me, a healthy young person with high blood pressure?
Courtesy of CBS News; Credit: iStock photo)
Well, it turns out that I’m not alone.
In fact, according to recent findings in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, one in five young adults has high blood pressure, or hypertension. Hypertension involves an extra high level of force pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If your blood pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body, potentially causing kidney failure, heart failure or stroke. Individuals can help to control their blood pressure through exercise, diet and possibly drug therapy. So if high blood pressure is so common among young adults, why is there still so little education about it and how to control it?