High blood pressure clues in childhood

  • 10/10/2015

Groups of people at risk of having high blood pressure by age 38 have been identified by University of Otago researchers.

The researchers have used blood pressure tests from the internationally renowned study which tracks more than a 1000 people born in Dunedin in 1972-3 from birth to the present.

They've identified study members as belonging to one of four different blood pressure groups.

More than a third of the children the study follows were at risk of developing clinically high blood pressure levels by early mid-life.

High blood pressure is commonly treated in middle and old age.

Lead author Dr Reremoana Theodore says she and her colleagues have identified a number of factors in early life that increase the odds of being in a high risk blood pressure group.

These include being male, having a family history of high blood pressure, being first born and being born with a lower birthweight.

The information will help clinicians identify young people who may develop high blood pressure later in adulthood, Dr Theodore says.

The research is published in the journal Hypertension.

The study confirms having higher body mass index and cigarette smoking over time increases blood pressure levels, especially for people in the higher blood pressure groups.