Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association of prehypertension with measures of cardiovascular disease risk in a biracial (black-white) population of young adults.
Methods: As part of the Bogalusa Heart Study, echocardiography and carotid ultrasonography were performed along with cardiovascular risk factor measurements in 1379 young adult participants (age range 20-44 years, average 36 years; 43% men, 70% white). Participants were categorized as normotensives (60%), prehypertensives (27%) and hypertensives (13%).
Results: The prevalence of prehypertension was significantly higher among men than women (35 vs. 22%) and among blacks than whites (29 vs. 27%). Compared with normotensives, prehypertensives had a greater adverse cardiovascular risk factor profile. Male sex and BMI equally and significantly contributed to the prehypertension status in both whites [odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval 2.66 (1.88-3.74) and 1.10 (1.07-1.14)] and blacks [OR: 2.56 (1.51-4.33) and 1.05 (1.01-1.09)]. Additionally, prehypertensives compared with normotensives had significantly higher left ventricular (LV) mass index, LV internal diameter, and carotid artery intima-media thickness.
Conclusion: The condition of prehypertension in young adults shows men>women and black women>white women, and participants with prehypertension already have adverse profiles of risk factors and indices of subclinical cardiovascular disease. A greater percentage of blacks at a relatively young age fall into the hypertensive category. These findings underscore the need for aggressive management of cardiovascular risk in youth at levels below those considered as hypertension.