24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Scoliosis Screenings Can Help Catch Spine Problem EarlyArthritis Can Strike ChildrenPlan an Allergy-Safe Halloween for Your ChildHappier Mealtimes, Healthier Eating for KidsAAP Releases List of Often-Unnecessary TestsUSPSTF Recommends Counseling Youth on Sun Protection BehaviorChildhood Obesity Up Worldwide Almost 10-Fold Over 4 DecadesStart Skin Cancer Prevention Early, Health Experts SayHealth Tip: Getting Enough SleepSurviving Congenital Heart Disease as Child Not a Ticket to Good HealthHealth Tip: Children and Screen UseHealth Tip: Suggestions for a Healthy HalloweenMaking Halloween a Treat for Kids With DiabetesHealth Tip: Learn Symptoms of Childhood SinusitisChildhood 'Growth' Tests Not Always NecessaryMore U.S. Measles Cases From No Vaccine vs. Imported DiseaseMeasles Making a Comeback in the United StatesReassuring Kids After Another Senseless TragedyBilingual Kids Learn New Languages BetterGirls' Sports-Related Concussions May Last Twice As LongTeens Mixed Up With the Law May Fall Through Medicaid CracksLooking at Laughter for Clues to Anti-Social BehaviorHigh Blood Pressure in Pregnancy May Boost Child's Obesity RiskDon't Let Your Kids Get Sidelined With Sports-Related Infections'Off-Roading' Threat May Lurk in the AirHealth Tip: Identifying Chicken PoxCould Pests, Dust Lower Kids' Odds for Asthma?When a Cold or Flu Strikes a Family MemberBooze Often Glorified On YouTube VideosInflammatory Bowel Disease May Raise Cancer Risk in KidsKids' Colds Linked to Asthma, Lung Problems LaterAAP: Few Doctors Provide Firearm Injury Prevention Info in ERDoctors Eye the Danger From 'Nerf' GunsParents Say Schools Don't Help Kids With Mental Health, Chronic DiseaseIt's a Food Allergy! Where's the School Nurse?Big Rise in Hospitalized Kids With Opioid Side EffectsAAP: Opioid Dependence/Abuse Public Health Issue for ChildrenGolf Carts' Use Is Spreading, and So Is Danger to KidsState Laws Have Big Impact on Kids' Gun InjuriesHealth Tip: On Kids and Pets'Microbiomes' May Hold Key to Kids' Ear InfectionsHurricanes May Have Longer-Lasting Impact on KidsHeath Tip: Getting Rid of Head LiceState Laws Curb Kids' Injuries Tied to Off-Road VehiclesBrown-Bagging It? Think Outside the BoxVaccine Campaign in Poor Countries to Save 20 Million LivesGuinea Pigs Harbor a Hidden Health HazardFor City Kids With Asthma, Nearby Green Space Is KeyEarly Respiratory Infections Tied to Celiac in High-Risk ChildrenHealth Tip: Fuel Your Child With a Good Breakfast
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Child Development & Parenting: Infants (0-2)
Child Development & Parenting: Early (3-7)

Stressed Childhood Might Raise Risk for High Blood Pressure Later

HealthDay News
by By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Nov 15th 2016

new article illustration

TUESDAY, Nov. 15, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A stressful childhood might predispose some people to struggle with high blood pressure as adults, a new study suggests.

And a second study found that having parents who had high blood pressure at a relatively young age also increased that risk.

In the first study, kids exposed to stress were more likely to have later problems regulating their blood pressure, an early warning sign of heart problems to come, the researchers said.

"In the subjects in the group without early life stress, their average level of diastolic blood pressure is around 60," said study author Shaoyong Su, an associate professor of pediatrics at Augusta University Medical College of Georgia. "Those exposed to adverse environment may get high as 65. That's quite a big difference."

Diastolic blood pressure, the lower number, is how much pressure your blood is exerting between beats. Systolic pressure is the top number, the measure of how much pressure your blood exerts as your heart beats.

People also are more likely to develop high blood pressure if their parents were diagnosed with high blood pressure before age 55, the second study found, though the findings did not prove cause and effect.

For the first study, Su and his colleagues conducted periodic around-the-clock blood pressure monitoring so they could capture day and nighttime readings for 373 participants between the ages of 7 and 38. These readings were taken over a 23-year-period.

The researchers also measured whether the participants as children had been abused or neglected, had grown up in a dysfunctional family, or had been raised at a lower socioeconomic status -- all triggers for childhood stress.

Those who reported childhood adversity were 17 percent more likely to have blood pressure during the day that was elevated enough to meet the clinical definition of high blood pressure, the researchers reported. The risk of elevated blood pressure during sleep also was high.

The study participants' blood pressure also was more likely to fluctuate throughout the day, the researchers found.

This effect of stress on blood pressure is of particular concern at night, when the body is supposed to be replenishing itself, Su said.

"You're supposed to get lower BP during the nighttime, while your body rests," Su said. "For those people in stress, nighttime BP cannot go back [down]."

Blood pressure variability has been linked to a number of health problems in adults, including increased risk of stroke, poorer post-stroke recovery and decreased brain function in older adults, the researchers said.

The findings in this study are "very interesting and compelling," said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, chair of preventive medicine with the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

But Lloyd-Jones added that stress can be a slippery risk factor to assess and treat.

"In general, we think stress is an important contributor both to bad cardiovascular risk factor levels, but perhaps even ultimately to triggers for cardiovascular events," he said. "The problem with stress is everybody has it. Everybody experiences it a little bit differently, and it's very difficult to measure."

People might be able to overcome childhood stress if they address other risk factors for high blood pressure, Su said. These include eating right, exercising, quitting smoking, cutting back on drinking and reducing their current stress levels.

In the second study, researchers analyzed more than 1,600 adults participating in the Framingham Heart Study, a multi-generational study taking place in the town of Framingham, Mass.

Those most likely to develop high blood pressure had a mother and father who developed the condition at an early age, the researchers found:

  • In people where neither parent had high blood pressure, only 6 percent wound up with high blood pressure themselves.
  • About 8 percent of people developed high blood pressure who had parents with late-onset high blood pressure, diagnosed at age 55 or older.
  • By contrast, 19 percent of children of two parents with early onset high blood pressure wound up with the condition themselves.

Both studies were to be presented Monday at the American Heart Association annual meeting, in New Orleans. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

For more on how stress affects your heart, visit the American Heart Association.