PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new study finds that high blood pressure is becoming a problem for young adults.

Researchers looked at more than 14,000 people between ages 24 and 32 and found that one in five had elevated blood pressure. Only half had ever been told.

“It’s not a type of condition where you would even know that you have it,” Dr. Marc Itskowitz with Allegheny General Hospital said. “Also, a lot of young patients don’t see a doctor on a regular basis. They may come in if they get sick, but if they feel well, they’re not coming in.”

The findings are concerning since high blood pressure can lead to complications. It’s a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

“We used to see high blood pressure in patients who are 40 and 50,” Dr. Itskowitz said. “Now we’re seeing young patients – even adolescents, young adults with high blood pressure.”

Normal is 120/80. Ideally, you want to get your blood pressure taken while you’re sitting down and not when you’re stressed or running around. You should also check it on different occasions just to make sure you’re seeing a true pattern.

If it’s elevated, there are steps you can take to get it down.

“Often with some lifestyle modification, we can get their blood pressure closer to normal, they may need to lose some weight or exercise, sometimes we need to start them on a medicine,” Dr. Itskowitz said. “In most cases, we can control their blood pressure pretty well with minimal side effects.”

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