Pre-Hypertension in Young Could Signal Later Heart Problems

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-02_ccb1cd8724.jpgRemains/Thinkstock (CHICAGO) -- Young people shouldn't just ignore it if they learn their blood pressure is even mildly elevated. According to researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, an extensive 25-year-long study has shown that "pre-hypertension" in 18- to 30-year-olds could be a sign they'll develop clogged arteries in their 40s and 50s.

The researchers first took blood pressure readings of nearly 4,700 people beginning in the 1980s and then periodically afterwards. After 25 years, they checked for calcium buildup in the arteries, an early warning sign of heart disease.

People whose blood pressure was typically over what's normal -- that is, anything above 120/80 -- had a higher rate of calcium build-up.

As a result, the researchers encourage young people to have their blood pressure regularly checked and if it’s elevated or high (140/90 and above), make lifestyle changes that include more sleep, no smoking and a sensible diet.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio