Disclosures: Agbaje reports no relevant financial disclosures.
November 30, 2021
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Adolescent arterial stiffness may be precursor of hypertension in young adulthood

Disclosures: Agbaje reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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Arterial stiffness during adolescence may be a precursor of hypertension and obesity in young adulthood, researchers reported in Hypertension.

“Arterial stiffness has mainly been considered a risk marker or consequence of elevated blood pressure and hypertension. However, the current study showed that arterial stiffness is a strong risk factor or cause of elevated blood pressure/hypertension, which should be targeted from adolescence,” Andrew O. Agbaje, MD, MPH, certified clinical researcher at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the School of Medicine and Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, Finland, told Healio. “Moreover, the study reported that arterial stiffness could be both a risk factor and a risk marker for obesity.”

Graphical depiction of source quote presented in the article
Andrew O. Agbaje, MD, MPH, certified clinical researcher at the Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition at the School of Medicine and Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland in Kuopio, Finland.

Researchers evaluated temporal associations between carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and carotid intima-media thickness with risk for overweight/obesity and elevated BP/hypertension later in life.

The study included 3,862 adolescents aged 17.7 years from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. All participants were followed for 7 years. During this period, the researchers collected data on carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and carotid intima-media thickness measured via ultrasound, total and trunk fat mass and lean mass measured via DEXA, BMI and BP.

Higher carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity during adolescence was associated with an increased risk for the following at age 24.5 years:

  • elevated systolic BP and hypertension (OR = 1.2; 95% CI, 1.02-1.41; P = .026);
  • elevated diastolic BP and hypertension (OR = 1.77; 95% CI, 1.32-2.38; P < .0001);
  • BMI overweight/obesity (OR = 1.19; 95% CI, 1.01-1.41; P = .041); and
  • trunk fat mass overweight/obesity (OR = 1.24; 95% CI, 1.03-1.49; P = .023).

Agbaje and colleagues reported no association between higher carotid intima-media thickness at 17.7 years with obesity and elevated BP at follow-up.

The researchers observed a direct association between carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity progression and 7-year increase in systolic and diastolic BP (P < .0001 for both). Carotid intima-media thickness progression was also directly associated with a 7-year increase for all adiposity measures and diastolic BP (P < .0001).

Carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity at baseline was directly associated with systolic and diastolic BP at follow-up. The researchers reported a bidirectional association between carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity and adiposity, but not with carotid intima-media thickness.

“Efforts targeted a decreasing hypertension and obesity have yielded limited results. This was emphasized in the American Heart Association scientific statement published in September 2021,” Agbaje told Healio.

The researchers said further research is needed.

“These novel results should be confirmed in a multi-ethnic healthy pediatric population especially that linking arterial stiffness as a possible cause of obesity,” Agbaje said. “Future research should investigate how arterial stiffness can be prevented and possibly reversed from a young age.”

For more information:

Andrew O. Agbaje, MD, MPH, can be reached at andrew.agbaje@uef.fi.

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