Doctors Missing High Blood Pressure in Kids
Recent reports show that many doctors throughout the U.S. are failing to diagnose high blood pressure in more than three-quarters of children, which is putting them at risk of heart disease and other illnesses later in life.
According to research, calculating elevated blood pressure in children is more complicated in adults and therefore, many doctor’s don’t bother to even test children, especially since hypertension is usually an adult problem.
Hypertension in Children
Hypertension affects as many as five percent of children in America.
The condition, although treatable, is becoming more prevalent in kids since obesity is increasing in the country.
“Hypertension is a disease that doesn’t cause symptoms, particularly in children,” explains Dr. Richard Lange, chief of clinical cardiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “ However, it does start to affect the blood vessels to the heart, kidney and brain, and many of these effects could be irreversible.
A recent study examined the medical records of 14,187 children between the ages of 3 and 18 who had at least three routine checkups in which their blood pressure was taken.
The study concluded that 507 of these children had high blood pressure, known as hypertension.
Of those cases, 376 were never diagnosed.
485 children had prehypertension, a term meaning blood pressure is on the higher end, and only 55 of these cases were properly diagnosed.
High Blood Pressure and Our Children’s Future
Dr. David C. Kaelber, a lead researcher at Harvard Medical School, says that high blood pressure in children can eventually lead to heart damage, kidney problems and problems in the eyes and brain, as children continue to grow.
“We have to start seeing children as soon-to-be young adults and make sure we do all we can to protect them from the diseases of adulthood,” states Dr. Susan R. Mendely, the director of pediatric nephrology at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
(Source: Baltimore Sun)
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