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Heart Watch Blog: Infants Born Premature Have Risk Of High Blood Pressure As Adults

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Nov 29, 2005

Infants Born Premature Have Risk Of High Blood Pressure As Adults

Infants Born Premature Have Risk Of High Blood Pressure As Adults
If you were born prematurely, then you may have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure later in life. Your risk of development of hypertension is proportional to the degree of prematurity you had at the time of birth.

These findings from a Swedish study are published in a recent issue of the journal Circulation which is journal published by the American Heart Association.

"In this study, pre-term birth was identified as a new and very early risk factor for high blood pressure," said Stefan Johansson, M.D., lead author of the study and a neonatologist at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm. "The risk was particularly high among young men who were born at least eight weeks early.

"The association between pre-term birth and high blood pressure is unlikely to be explained by family history or genetic factors. Instead, early environmental challenges faced by the premature baby may affect development permanently, contributing to higher blood pressure in adulthood."

The study participants were men born of Nordic women, a predominately-Caucasian population. More research is needed to determine whether these results apply across racial lines, Johansson said.

The study involved 329,495 Swedish men born between 1973 and 1981 and drafted for military service between 1993 and 2001. Compared with men born full-term, researchers found that men who were born: extremely pre-term have almost twice the risk of high blood pressure.

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Heart Watch Blog: Infants Born Premature Have Risk Of High Blood Pressure As Adults

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