High blood pressure in kids undiagnosed

The Australian August 23, 2007
MANY children and adolescents have high blood pressure that is going undetected, a study has shown. Doctors on Tuesday described an epidemic of high blood pressure, going hand in hand with the obesity epidemic. They blamed poor diets, salty foods and lack of exercise for the changes. “We have probably seen a doubling of high blood pressure in the young over the past 20 years,” said Bryan Williams of the University of Leicester. Professor Williams said lifestyle changes were building up serious health problems that could undermine recent advances in the control of disease.The new study, from the US, estimates that as many as one in 20 American teenagers may suffer from high blood pressure. The long-term effects can include heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney disease in later life. Blood pressure is seldom measured in children, and judging what is a risky level has always been contentious. In the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Matthew Hansen of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and colleagues attempted to discover how much undiagnosed high blood pressure there was by looking at the health check records of more than 14,000 children, aged three to 18, living in northern Ohio.