Higher BP Found in Teens Exposed to Violence

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

The results of a Canadian study show that frequent exposure toviolence may affect the blood pressures (BPs) and heart rates ofteens. The researchers' findings suggest that such exposure canhave physiologic as well as psychological effects.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Vancouverstudied 115 students at a public high school in St. Louis, Mo.The students ranged in age from 16 to 19 years; all were healthy,and none were taking any heart-related medications. The studentswere asked about their previous exposure to violence, includingwhether they had witnessed or experienced it. They also wereasked about the lifetime frequency, proximity, and severity of theviolence. Heart rate, BP, and hormone levels were measuredbefore and after the participants performed a stress task andwatched a serene nature video.

The results showed that students with previous exposure to violencehad higher resting BP, heart rate, and hormone levels afterthe test than those who were not exposed. Researchers determinedthat the greater teens' exposure to violence is, the more likelythey are to experience cardiovascular problems in adult life.