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High blood pressure on the rise in young people

Jan. 05, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

R&B singer Monica's duet with Brandy, "The Boy is Mine," sold more than 2 million records. But the 28-year-old never suspected her blood pressure was off the charts too! Until she passed out.

As surprising as that sounds, she's not so unusual. Eleven percent of guys and 7 percent of gals 20-34 years old have high blood pressure. But most kids and young adults don't know their blood pressure or even have it checked regularly. We docs think everyone 3 years and older should be tested annually.

Even when young adults are tested and turn out to have high blood pressure, only about 33 percent get treated. Seems that many doctors don't give them the info they need about treatment (lifestyle adjustments and meds do work) and why it's important. If untreated, HBP leads to memory loss, kidney failure, heart attack, wrinkles, sexual dysfunction and stroke.

So, if you have a family history of HBP, don't get exercise, are overweight, under stress and nutritionally challenged (love those fries!), realize that no matter what your age, you're at increased risk for hypertension.

The good news: Often, you can decrease HBP with our 3-M Plan: Meditate (to reduce stress), Motivate (to get yourself walking 10,000 steps a day and doing strength-building exercises two to three days a week) and Modify (eliminate the five food felons: added sugar and sugar syrups, trans fats, most saturated fats and any grain that's not 100 percent whole).

And everybody, listen up! Know your BP numbers, and get them to 115/76 or less.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Medical Officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. For more information go to www. RealAge.com.

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