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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

Hypertension Serious in Young Men

High blood pressure is more common in younger men, and should be taken just as serious as in their older counterparts.
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Another Complication Worth Considering

If the threat of premature death from complications of untreated high blood pressure doesn't get your attention, perhaps this will: A recent study showed that men with high blood pressure were 2.5 times as likely as men with normal pressure to develop erectile dysfunction (ED). Men with prehypertension also had a higher incidence of ED than did men with normal pressure.

Michael Doumas, MD, of the University of Athens in Greece, presented the study at the American Society of Hypertension 20th Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition. In order to assess the link between hypertension and erectile dysfunction, researchers excluded men who had a history of diabetes, heart disease, renal failure, or liver and vascular disease, which are associated with ED.

While the study of men aged 31 to 65 didn't compare younger vs. older men, the fact that more than one-third of the participants with high blood pressure had erectile dysfunction should be seen as another very good reason to seek treatment and follow doctor's orders.

Risk Factors

Young men with hypertension often have what's called "metabolic syndrome," which is known to contribute to heart disease and diabetes. It includes a cluster of risk factors found in an individual and include excess body fat (especially around the waist and chest), high cholesterol, and insulin resistance. Studies have also shown that early vertex baldness can be associated with HBP. In addition, obstructive sleep apnea and snoring are linked to HBP in men in general.

Family history plays a role, but whether its importance varies with age of onset is unknown. "From epidemiological and twin studies, estimates range from 10% to 40%," says Ulrich Broeckel, MD, who is researching the role of genetics in hypertension. The goal of research is to subcategorize hypertension in order to improve diagnosis and treatment. "We're not ready for a diagnostic test, but ultimately we'll treat patients better based on their genetic makeup."

Learn to Manage Anger

Managing anger may be more important for younger men than older men, says Charles Spielberger, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of South Florida in Tampa. "I don't know of studies that look only at men under age 35, but a young man is dealing with a lifelong habit of anger," he tells WebMD.

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