High blood pressure is commonly treated in middle and old age. It has been described as a "silent killer" because most people are unaware of having the condition, which is one that puts them at greater risk of heart disease.
    
The findings emerge from the Dunedin Study, which has tracked more than a 1,000 people born in Dunedin in 1972-1973 from birth to the present.
    
Using blood pressure information collected between the ages of 7 to 38 years, researchers from New Zealand's University of Otago identified study members as belonging to  one of four different blood pressure groups.
    
They found that more than a third of them were at risk of developing clinically high blood pressure levels by early mid-life. Lead author Dr Reremoana Theodore said she and her colleagues were also able to identify a number of factors inearly life that increased the odds of being in a high risk blood pressure group.
    
"These included being male, having a family history of high blood pressure, being first born and being born lower birthweight. This new information is useful for screening purposes to help clinicians identify young people who may develop high blood pressure later in adulthood," Theodore said.

"Our findings can be used to inform early detection, targeted prevention and/or intervention to help reduce the burden associated with this silent killer," Theodore said.
    
The research is published in the international journal Hypertension.

 

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