If your parents were diagnosed with high blood pressure before age 55, you may be at higher risk for developing high blood pressure than if they developed hypertension at a later age, according to a preliminary study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2016.
Framingham Heart Study researchers examined blood pressure information collected on parents and their offspring since as early as 1948. Specifically, they looked at 1,635 adult children (average age 32) who did not have high blood pressure at the start. Of the offspring studied: group 1 had no parents with high blood pressure; group 2 had one or more parents with late-onset hypertension, meaning they were diagnosed at age 55 or older; group 3 had one parent with early-onset high blood pressure; and group 4 had both parents with early-onset hypertension. They found:
- The offspring who were most likely to develop hypertension were those whose mother and father had early-onset hypertension.
- When individuals with non-hypertensive parents, group 1, were followed for a decade, 6 percent of them developed high blood pressure. This portion in group 2 was 8 percent; in group 3 it was 11 percent; and in group 4, where both parents had early-onset hypertension, it was 19 percent.
- The offspring's high blood pressure risk increased by about 50 percent from group 1 to group 2. And from group 1 to group 4, offspring with both parents having early-onset hypertension had 3.5 times the risk of hypertension compared to offspring whose parents had normal blood pressure.
Finally, the researchers found that the earlier in life the parents developed hypertension, the earlier their offspring did also. It may be important to differentiate between early- and late-onset parental hypertension when estimating an individual's hypertension risk, researchers said.
Teemu Niiranen, M.D., Ph.D., Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, Massachusetts.
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