DAK urges doctors to screen children for high blood pressure

With rising rates of childhood hypertension, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) today urged doctors to screen children for high blood pressure.

President DAK Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a statement said that high blood pressure is on the rise in children, largely because of increased obesity in the young.

“One recent study of middle and high school children found that 15% had high blood pressure”, said Nisar ul Hassan

In children who are obese, more than 30 percent have pre-hypertension or hypertension, according to the statement.

“Too often, high blood pressure in children goes undetected. This is because neither parents nor their children’s doctors are aware of this health problem and its potentially serious consequences”, he said

The National High Blood Pressure Education Program (NHBPEP) working group on children recommends that children 3 years of age and older should have their blood pressure measured during every health care visit.

“If your child has a condition that increases the risk of high BP such as premature birth, low birth weight, congenital heart disease and certain kidney problems – blood pressure checks should begin during infancy”, he added.

According to the statement, screening at earlier stages would decrease the rate of progression of hypertension from children to adults, and thus reduce the personal and public health burden of hypertension.

High blood pressure in children is associated with adverse health outcomes.

“It can cause left ventricular hypertrophy in just a few years, which can eventually lead to heart failure. Other consequences of untreated hypertension in children include atherosclerosis, the arterial disorder that leads to heart attack and stroke later in life”, the statement said.

A growing body of evidence suggests that high blood pressure can impair children’s ability to think and remember.

Hypertension in children is defined as blood pressure greater than or equal to the 95th percentile for sex, age and height on at least three separate occasions.

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