A large pregnancy follow up study in Australia shows that male adolescents who drink alcohol and teenage girls using birth control pills are at greater risk of having high blood pressure later in life.
The researchers asked 1,771 participants about their smoking habits, dietary patterns, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and prescription medications (including the use of oral contraceptives). They calculated the association between each of these risk factors and systolic and diastolic blood pressure and found that girls who do not take birth control pills had an overall systolic blood pressure 9 mmHg lower than boys.
Among the key findings of the researchers reveals that:
- 24% of the teenagers were pre-hypertensive or hypertensive
- 34% of overweight teenagers were either pre-hypertensive or hypertensive
- 38% of obese adolescents were either pre-hypertensive or hypertensive
Meanwhile, the researchers also found that alcohol consumption, along with BMI and urinary sodium, play a significant role in the systolic blood pressure.
The researchers explained that the difference in blood pressure between adolescents with a healthier lifestyle and those with a less favorable lifestyle “are likely to significantly affect their risk of both ischemic heart disease and stroke in adulthood.”
Regular blood pressure monitoring is advised on teenage girls taking contraceptive pills and lifestyle change is recommended for teenagers drinking alcohol to prevent health problems as they age.