Cool head means calm heart

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Young adults who keep a cool head under stress may be less likely to develop high blood pressure as they age, according to a recent study.

A study of 4,000 young adults showed that those who stressed out the least while playing a difficult video game and taking other tests were less likely to develop high blood pressure in their 40s, BBC radio reported.

Researchers form the University of Pittsburgh, used information from a continuing study tracking the natural history of cardiovascular disease. In 1985 researchers began studying 5,115 men and women, ages 18 to 30, and re-examined them at regular intervals. At the second-year examination, 4,202 of the volunteers who had normal blood pressure of 140/90 or below took stress tests. In one, they plunged a hand in ice-cold water and kept it submerged for 45 seconds.

Another involved tracing an image. And one involved a video game – which at the time was fairly novel and still stressful for many to play. It was found that in general, participants who had the greatest blood- pressure increases during all three tasks had the highest risk for later high-blood pressure.

The greater the blood-pressure changes in all three tasks, the earlier the onset of hypertension, according to the researchers. After 13 years of follow-up, 353 of the participants developed high blood pressure, they found. It is still unclear whether exposure to stress is a part of the cause of hypertension in some people or whether these tests measuring response to stress are simply good markers for the future development of hypertension.

High blood pressure affects a large number of people and is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke and heart failure. The News

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