New research shows less stress in your 20s could reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure in middle age.Young adults who react to psychological stress with spikes in blood pressure are more likely to have high blood pressure when they are in their 40s.
Specialists say assessing blood pressure changes in response to stress may be a useful tool for determining a person's future risk of high blood pressure. In a large study more than 4,000 participants completed three different stress tests. In one test, participants plunged a hand in ice-cold water and kept it submerged for 45 seconds. Another test, called "star tracing," required participants to trace a star with a stylus through a mirror image of the star. Then, the participants played a video game. Researchers measured changes in blood pressure during each of the tests.
Results show the greater the blood pressure changes in all three tasks, the earlier the onset of hypertension. Some tasks were able to specifically predict pressure changes for certain groups. For example, changes in diastolic blood pressure during the video game were a better predictor for men. Changes in systolic pressure during the cold-water test were more predictive for women.
Researchers conclude saying high blood pressure causes the heart to work harder than normal and increases the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure and though unproven, according to the article, researchers say exercise may be a plausible way to reduce stress risk.