According to a new study 'normal' blood pressure at age 17 can still predict hypertension at early adulthood.
The study from Ben-Gurion University also found that teenage boys are three to four times more likely to develop high blood pressure in early adulthood than girls.
"It is increasing along with the obesity epidemic, but regrettably, young adults who are otherwise healthy frequently are not screened for becoming hypertensive," explains researcher Dr. Assaf Rudich, an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry at BGU.
The study revealed that in boys, there is a strong correlation between blood pressure and BMI at age 17 - implying that BMI is an important factor in progression of hypertension despite 'normal' blood pressure.
For girls, obesity increased the risk of hypertension, but researchers believe that estrogen may protect against it.
"For the individual person, a 'normal value' may still be associated with a significant elevated risk of disease when the BMI and sex of the patient is also considered," explains Dr. Iris Shai, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology in the Faculty of Health and Sciences.
The study is published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.