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Can playing football and high debt raise young adults' blood pressure?

Published On: Dec 24 2013 03:44:45 AM EST   Updated On: Aug 20 2013 06:40:35 PM EDT

The first a Northwestern University study shows adults ages 24 and 32 who are in big financial debt. yes those who owe a lot of bills- had higher blood pressure than those without debt. One reason could be stress

ROANOKE -

What do playing college football and being in financial debt have in common?  It turns out both can contribute to high blood pressure or hypertension in young adults.

When you think of hypertension you probably don't think about young adults but young people can have high blood pressure.  Now two studies shed some light on possible contributors to the disease in young adults.

A Northwestern University study concluded adults ages 24 through 32 who are in big financial debt had higher blood pressure than those without debt.  Yes, it turns out a lot of big bills can affect your heart.

One reason is that big debt can cause stress.

"When you undergo stress you have this fight or flight response. Your body releases adrenaline," said Dr. Matthew Schumaecker, a Carilion Clinic cardiologist.  All of the hormones that the body produces during stress are potent elevators of blood pressure, according to Dr. Schumaecker.

Since there really aren't any symptoms of high blood pressure and many young adults, particularly men, don't see a physician regularly, many times high blood pressure goes untreated.

"The problem is by the time they're 40 they start to get congestive heart failure, coronary disease, stroke, kidney failure., they've had hypertension for 20 years unchecked," said Dr. Schumaecker.

Another study found many first year college football players develop hypertension by the end of the first season or were on the verge of developing it.  Those especially at risk? Linemen- possibly because many linemen are encouraged to gain weight and bulk up their first year of college football.  The study was done on 133 football players at Harvard University over six years.  It's published in the journal Circulation.

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