Bone growth linked to hypertension
High blood pressure in children is linked to bones that are more mature than average, suggesting that advanced bone age may predict cardiovascular problems.
It is postulated that primary hypertension (PH) is a disorder with origins in childhood linked to, at least in part, aberrations of growth and maturation processes.
To evaluate the possible relation between the rate of biological maturity and development of PH, researchers in Poland compared the X-rayed left hands of 54 children and adolescents with hypertension to those of 54 healthy controls who matched the study group for age, gender and body mass index (BMI). Using images printed in a reference atlas of skeletal development, the investigators categorised the rate of maturity in both groups as physiological, accelerated and delayed.
Even though 20 children in the control group were skeletally matured compared with 48 children in the hypertension group, children without high blood pressure had bones that reflected their chronological age within a four month range. In contrast, children with high blood pressure had an average difference of nearly two years between bone age (16 years) and chronological age (14 years).
The researchers concluded that accelerated skeletal maturation (the tempo of biological maturity greater than average) might be an early sign of developing hypertension. In other words, hypertensive children are biologically older than their normotensive, BMI-matched peers. They suggest that some lifestyle modifications, such as increased physical activity and diet modification, could influence both metabolic abnormalities and the tempo of biological maturity.
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