Lack Of Sleep Can Lead To Elevated Blood Pressure in Adolescents

Dr. Purushothaman
November 29, 2013

Recent research conducted at the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, has proposed that lack of sleep and also poor sleep quality could cause elevated blood pressure levels in healthy adolescents. These associations couldn't be explained by being overweight, socioeconomic status, sleep apnea, or known comorbidities. Here you can get data about lack of sleep and blood pressure

About Blood Pressure, Hypertension and Prehypertension

Blood pressure is the dimension of the pressure of blood acting against the walls of our arteries and varies every day. When blood pressure levels remain elevated over a sustained period of time, one then has "high blood pressure", medically referred to as "hypertension".

So what's the big deal about hypertension? It is very dangerous because it causes the heart to overwork, and also contributes to the hardening of one's arteries. Risks of suffering heart disease and stroke - two of the top killers in the united states - are thus increased. Other health problems, for example congestive heart failure, kidney illness and blindness, may also result from high blood pressure.

"Prehypertension", on the other hand, is a term used to describe the state whereby one does not have high blood pressure right now, but is likely to have it in the future. In other words, your blood pressure is high, but not very high sufficient yet to qualify for an official diagnosis of hypertension. Prehypertension in adolescents was what the Condition Western review checked out.

High blood pressure Information

According to the American Heart Association, an astonishing 73 million people the united states aged twenty and above are estimated to have hypertension; that is about one in every 3 adults. In the year 2004, the death rates from high blood pressure for each 100,000 people were 15.7 for white men, 51.0 for black men, 14.5 for white women and 40.9 for black females. In that year, high blood pressure killed 54,707 people in the us alone.

Perhaps not one of the top killers, however when you think about that hypertension additionally straight leads to other disorders, then the potential dangers are much greater. Additionally, the figures are rising substantially too. From 1994 to 2004, the dying rate from hypertension went up 26.6 percent, while the actual number of deaths increased by 56.1 percent.

Features and Findings of Study

The recent study, the first of its kind in terms of drawing a link between not receiving enough sleep and blood pressure levels in healthy adolescents, consisted of a cross-sectional analysis of data from the Cleveland Children's Sleep and Health Study. In total, the study covered 238 adolescents aged 13 to 16. The participants were not known to have sleep apnea, severe comorbidities or other health issues.

The study, published in the August 2008 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Organization, assessed sleep duration and efficiency at the homes of the young people for 3 to 7 nights. The participants maintained a daily sleep log, as well as put on a arm unit which recorded your motion to know their sleep and wake up patterns.

In addition, they spent 1 night in a medical sleep laboratory, where, on top of the sooner mentioned assessments, their blood pressure levels were measured a total of nine times over 2 days. In the research facility, an overnight polysomnography was also made; according to Wikipedia, a polysomnography "is a multi-parametric test used in the study of sleep", and the test outcome is termed a polysomnogram.

The research team reported that healthy young people who had less than 6.5 hours of sleep a night were 2.8 times more likely to have elevated blood pressure levels, when compared to people who had more hours of sleep. Those with low sleep efficiency, on the other hand, were 4.5 times more likely to have prehypertension.

Sleep efficiency might be broadly defined as sleep quality. It took into account factors such as having difficulty dropping off to sleep or staying asleep, and was measured using an actigraphy-defined objective measure. An actigraphy is a method of monitoring human rest-activity cycles. Poor sleep effectiveness was benchmarked at below or comparable to 85%.

After the data was adjusted for gender, body mass index and socioeconomic status, the relatively higher risks of prehypertension were 2.5 times for lack of sleep and 3.5 times for low sleep efficiency.

Additional, adjusted studies revealed that those with low sleep efficiency had a normal 4mm Hg higher systolic blood pressure (the figure usually placed at the top of blood pressure measurements) than those who had good sleep.

The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.

Sufficient Sleep for Adolescents

How much sleep do adolescents actually need? And why are they not getting enough?

According to the NHLBI's Your Guide to Healthy Sleep, children of school-going age and adolescents need at least 9 hours of sleep every night. According to the guide, hormonal influences during puberty tend to affect the biological clocks of adolescents. They are thus more likely to go to bed later at night, and want to sleep in longer in the morning.Here you can get data about lack of sleep and blood pressure

This sleep-wake schedule doesn't correspond with the early start times of most high schools, and hence results in most teenagers only getting an average of seven to 7.5 hours of sleep per night. This figure more or less tallies with what the recent Case Western study found, with participants sleeping an average of 7.7 hours each night.

Hypertension and Prehypertension in Adolescents

Another study by Case Western last year, which looked at a total of 14,187 children and adolescents aged 3 to 18, had found that high blood pressure and prehypertension were often undiagnosed. The study found that those who were older, taller, were obese, or had more frequent and greater magnitudes of abnormal blood pressure measurements were more likely to be diagnosed.

Of those studied, out of 507 who had high blood pressure, only 131 (26%) had a diagnosis of hypertension or increased blood pressure documented in the electronic medical record. As for prehypertension, out of 485 who had the condition, only 55 (11%) had the corresponding diagnosed recorded in the same database.

What this means is that there are scores of young people walking around who are given clean bills of health, but who in fact have high blood pressure or prehypertension.

The Implications

If the young ones are often having problems falling asleep, getting up several times or for long periods during the night, having sleepy spells during the day, or having difficulty concentrating, then it is possible that they are not having enough sleep, or are having poor sleep.

Other studies have already linked poor and lack of sleep to health issues in adults. Now we know that poor sleep affects even the young ones, in a very tangible way.

When we add everything up, we have a not-so-desirable recipe - adolescents not getting enough sleep, poor and lack of sleep resulting in hypertension and other health issues, hundreds of undiagnosed and thus unmanaged cases of adolescents suffering from hypertension or prehypertension, as well as high blood pressure leading to many killer disorders and even being a direct reason for death.

And, compared with twenty or even ten years ago, teenagers today have even more reasons to stay awake late into the night. Decades ago, there were no computers, no internet, and very small, if any, late night television. Add to that the stress and pressures of increased workloads in school, as well as the nutritional fiasco which is our modern diet of refined foods, and the issue gets a lot bigger.

As Whitney Houston sings in her 80s hit "Greatest Love of All", she believes that "children are our future". They most certainly are, and if we don't sit up, take note and do something now, our future is going to be one potential big health disaster.Read more information click here "lack of sleep and blood pressure"

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