It is well known that obesity increases the risk of hypertension. Researchers have recently shown that arterial stiffness, which has been established as a causal risk factor for hypertension in adults, is also implicated in the young population. Arterial stiffness may also cause increased insulin resistance in adolescents and young adults. Unfortunately, clinical trials to lower arterial stiffness in adults have not been promising, and clinical trials in the young population are ongoing.
In the new study, researchers examined whether arterial stiffness raises blood pressure via increased body fat or insulin resistance in a largely normal-weight adolescent population. This is because clinical trials in the young population have shown that lifestyle intervention could lower body fat and insulin resistance. Therefore, should arterial stiffness indirectly raise blood pressure through any of these pathways, it could be clinically relevant to intercept that path.
“Until results from clinical trials on reducing arterial stiffness in adolescents are available, it may be important for pediatricians and public health experts to focus on encouraging healthy lifestyle choices that lower insulin resistance thereby potentially lowering blood pressure. Increasing physical activity, reducing screen time, quitting smoking or vaping, reducing salt and sugar intake, increasing vegetable and fibre portion of diet, and having optimal daily sleep are healthy lifestyle choices,” says Andrew Agbaje, a physician and clinical epidemiologist at the University of Eastern Finland.
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