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Former inmates have higher blood pressure

NEW HAVEN, Conn., April 15 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers say those incarcerated as youths may be at greater risk for high blood pressure.

In addition, a heart condition associated with high blood pressure -- left ventricular hypertrophy -- was more common in those with a history of incarceration, 2 percent versus 0.6 of those never incarcerated.

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The study, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine, also found former inmates less likely to have access to regular medical care.

Commonly cited factors -- such as drug/alcohol use and obesity -- were considered but did not account for the association. The researchers suggest other explanations such as former inmates' increased hostility raising hormone levels and contributing to higher blood pressure.

Dr.Emily Wang, formerly of San Francisco General Hospital and currently at now at Yale University, and colleagues looked at the onset of high blood pressure, diabetes and abnormal cholesterol in 4,350 individuals enrolled in 1985-1986 in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults.

"Incarceration may be a cause for hypertension and cardiovascular disease, but may also present an underused opportunity for intervention and improving health and access to health care," the study authors said in a statement.

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