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High BP in children

Contrary to the common belief, hypertension or high blood pressure (BP) is no more a disease affecting adults. There exist many cases of high BP in children that go undiagnosed.

High BP in children

Contrary to the common belief, hypertension or high blood pressure (BP) is no more a disease affecting adults. There exist many cases of high BP in children that go undiagnosed. With the rise in cases of paediatric obesity, there is also a rise in the number of children getting affected by high BP. But most often such cases either go unnoticed or are not diagnosed properly. Diagnosis of high BP in children is complicated because normal and abnormal blood pressure values vary with age, sex, and height and are therefore difficult to remember. To find out the number of cases of undiagnosed hypertension and prehypertension and to identify the reasons for under-diagnosis, researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston, studied 14,187 children and adolescents aged 3 to 18 years. These children were observed at least 3 times for well-child care between June 1999 and September 2006 in the outpatient clinics in a large academic urban medical centre in northeast Ohio. The results for the underrecognition of high BP in children were to be a lack of knowledge of normal BP ranges, and lack of awareness of a patient's previous BP readings. Of 507 children and adolescents (3.6%) who had hypertension, 131 had a diagnosis of hypertension or elevated blood pressure documented in the electronic medical record. Of 485 children and adolescents who had prehypertension, only 11 percent had an appropriate diagnosis documented in the electronic medical record. If high blood pressure in children is not diagnosed at the right time, it can lead to complications. Thus, correct diagnosis of high BP in children is very important for the treatment and prevention of complications.
Journal of the American Medical Association,
August 2007
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