"Although high blood pressure is less common among young adults, young adulthood and early middle age is a critical period for the development of hypertension and other risk factors for heart disease," said lead author Dr. Lijing L. Yan, Research Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University. "Previous research on young adults is limited, and our study helps to fill that gap."
The study used data from the NHLBI's Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, which involved 3,308 black and white men and women from four metropolitan areas (Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL, Minneapolis, MN, and Oakland, CA). The participants were aged 18-30 at the time of their enrollment in the study. Enrollment took place from 1985 to 1986.
Participants were followed through 2000 or 2001, and had periodic physical examinations, which included blood pressure measurements and self-administered psycho-social questionnaires. Fifteen percent of all the participants had developed high blood pressure by ages 33-45.
Five psychological/social factors were assessed: time urgency/impatience, achievement striving/competitiveness, hostility, depression, and anxiety. The first three are key components of the type A behavior pattern and were assessed at the start of the study; the other two behaviors were assessed 5 years later. The factors were assessed by different scales based on the psychosocial instrument used but, in every case, a higher score meant the most intense degree of the behavior.
Time urgency/impatience was rated on a scale from 0 to 3-4. After 15 years, participants with the highest score of 3-4 had an 84 percent greater risk of developing high blood pressure and those with the s
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NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute