Adolescent Blood Pressure Linked to Atherosclerosis

Aug 29, 2004 12:23 PM EDT

A recent report has found a rise in blood pressure during adolescence appears to elevate the risk of developing clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) later in life.

The Dutch study, published in the July issue of the American Journal of Hypertension, assessed atherosclerosis in 750 young adults by measuring the thickness of the carotid artery using ultrasound, a procedure known as carotid intima-media thickness or CIMT. The subjects had at least one blood pressure measurement recorded in early adolescence.

Systolic pressure related to arterial thickness

The report found that systolic blood pressure during adolescence was directly related to CIMT. For every standard deviation above normal blood pressure, the CIMT increased by 7.5 micrometers. A similar correlation was also discovered between CIMT and other pressures, such as pulse pressure and mean arterial pressure.

After adjusting for sex, age and adolescent body mass index, blood and pulse pressure continued its significant connection with CIMT.

The research also concluded that a relative rise in blood pressure from adolescence to adulthood was tied to an increased CIMT. Each standard deviation above normal the adolescent BP is increases the adult risk of heart disease by 2%.

The results strengthen the notion that the increase of cardiovascular risk is initiated early in the life cycle.


1. M. L. Bots; et al., ¡°Adolescent Blood Pressure and Blood Pressure Tracking into Young Adulthood are Related to Sub-clinical Atherosclerosis: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Young Adults (ARYA) Study,¡± American Journal of Hypertension, 16.7.549-555.