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Study Compares Former NFL Players' Health to That of Other Healthy Young Men

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | May 27, 2009

Just as important, prehypertension among retired NFL players was signficantly higher: 64.5 percent versus 24.2 percent in the CARDIA group.

Prehypertension in young men is a harbinger of hypertension. Researchers reported that several of the veteran players participating in the study were taking anti-hypertensive medicine.

This unexpected prevalence of prehypertension and hypertension has led to plans for an NFL-wide survey and in-depth investigation of the mechanisms of these findings, researchers say.

Proposed areas for investigation include long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, salt intake, and sleep disordered breathing, the authors write.

At the same time, they suggest the high levels of physical activity in the NFL sample is probably important in mitigating the effect of body weight as a CVD risk factor but that the significantly higher rate of hypertension in young, retired football players is a concern that needs to be remedied quickly, before the condition leads to a heart attack or stroke.

Source: Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore

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