A novel risk factor for hypertension, vascular stiffness raises blood pressure in young people indirectly through increasing insulin resistance but not by increasing body fat.
Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine published the report. Global efforts are being made to screen for hypertension, identify cases, and diagnose it early in order to stop the “silent killer illness” and its complications from developing in children. Even in populations with normal weights who are physically active and choose healthy lifestyles, there are still unknowns regarding the mechanisms by which blood pressure is elevated.
Obesity is known to raise the chance of developing hypertension. Recent studies have demonstrated that vascular stiffness, which has been linked to adult-onset hypertension, also affects children and adolescents. In teens and young adults, arterial stiffness may also contribute to increased insulin resistance. Unfortunately, clinical studies to reduce arterial stiffness in adults have not shown encouraging results, however studies in young people are still being conducted.
Researchers looked at whether arterial stiffness increases blood pressure in a big portion of normal-weight teenage population by increasing body fat or insulin resistance. This is due to clinical studies in young people demonstrating how altering one’s lifestyle can reduce body fat and insulin resistance.
Therefore, it can be therapeutically meaningful to block that path if arterial stiffness indirectly raises blood pressure by any of these channels.
We discovered that arterial stiffness caused the insulin resistance pathway to indirectly increase blood pressure in adolescence. However, it is remarkable that arterial stiffness did not raise blood pressure in this broad population of adolescent subjects through increased body fat. Pediatricians and public health professionals may want to concentrate on promoting healthy lifestyle choices that lower insulin resistance in order to potentially lower blood pressure until data from clinical trials on reducing arterial stiffness in teenagers are available.
Healthy lifestyle choices include increasing physical activity, decreasing screen time, giving up smoking or vaping, cutting back on salt and sugar, increasing the amount of vegetables and fibre in the diet, and getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, according to Andrew Agbaje, a doctor and clinical epidemiologist at the University of Eastern Finland.