(HealthDay News) – Young adults with hyperinsulinemia are significantly more likely to have hypertension (HTN) later in life, regardless of sex, ethnicity, or body weight.

To determine the relationship between fasting insulin level and HTN, Pengcheng Xun, MD, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving 3,413 Americans aged 18–30 years without hypertension. Both radioimmunoassay and hexokinase methods were used to measure fasting insulin and glucose levels.

During 20 years of follow-up, the researchers identified 796 incident cases of HTN. Compared with those in the lowest quartile, participants in the highest quartile of fasting insulin levels had a significantly increased incidence (hazard ratio, 1.85). This association remained when comparing men and women, African-American and Caucasian ethnicities, and for individuals with different body weights.

“Fasting serum insulin levels or hyperinsulinemia in young adulthood was positively associated with incidence of HTN later in life for both men and women, African-Americans and Caucasians, and those with normal weight and overweight,” the authors write. “Our findings suggested that fasting insulin ascertainment may help clinicians identify those at high risk of HTN.”

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