Child health alert: Hypertension and high blood pressure

June 19, 2012 No Comments »
Child health alert: Hypertension and high blood pressure

Does your child have high blood pressure?

With one third of American children overweight or obese, doctors have raised a new concern for their health: hypertension and high blood pressure. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is now recommending that doctors regularly screen children for high blood pressure.

According to an article published by the American Academy on Science and Health, serious health issues can arise from failure to diagnose hypertension in children including stroke during adolescence. The article reports that perhaps as many as 2,000 children and teens in the U.S. suffer strokes each year due to hypertension.

But there are challenges in conducting regular screening.

First, the medical community and parents need to understand that the danger is real.

Second, standard blood pressure cuffs on blood pressure meters are too big for the arms of most children, so they may not produce accurate readings. In fact, using a cuff that is too large may provide an incorrect low reading.

Third, assuming that a correct measurement can be collected, a blood pressure reading that would be high for a child often qualifies as normal in an adult. Doctors may not recognize that a child is in danger.

Without turning to medications, two of the best ways to reduce hypertension and high blood pressure are to exercise regularly and lose weight.

Want to figure-out where your kid fits on the BMI spectrum?  Use this BMI calculator .

Want to learn more? Visit the Healthy Kids section of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Let us know your thoughts below:

  • As a parent, are you concerned about high blood pressure in your child?
  • Should we screen children for high blood pressure in Canada?

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