Data are limited on blood pressure (BP) in young adults and long-term mortality. Moreover, screening and hypertension treatment guidelines have been based mainly on findings for middle-aged and older populations. This study assesses relationships of BP measured in young adult men to long-term mortality due to coronary heart disease (CHD), cardiovascular diseases (CVD), and all causes.
This cohort from the Chicago Heart Association Detection Project in Industry included 10 874 men aged 18 to 39 years at baseline (1967-1973), not receiving antihypertensive drugs, and without CHD or diabetes. Relationship of baseline BP to 25-year CHD, CVD, and all-cause mortality was assessed.
Age-adjusted association of systolic BP to CHD mortality was continuous and graded. Multivariate-adjusted CHD hazard ratios (HRs) for 1 SD higher systolic BP (15 mm Hg) and diastolic BP (10 mm Hg) were 1.26 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11-1.44) and 1.17 (95% CI, 1.01-1.35), respectively. Compared with the Sixth Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure stratum with normal BP (and lowest mortality rates), the large strata with high-normal BP and stage 1 hypertension had 25-year absolute risks for death of 63 and 72 per 1000, respectively, and absolute excess risks of 10 and 20 per 1000, respectively; accounted for 59.8% of all excess CHD, CVD, and all-cause mortality; and were estimated to have life expectancy shortened by 2.2 and 4.1 years, respectively.
In young adult men, BP above normal was significantly related to increased long-term mortality due to CHD, CVD, and all causes. Population-wide primary prevention, early detection, and control of higher BP are indicated from young adulthood on.