Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

High Blood Pressure Undiagnosed in Children and Teens

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The rise in childhood obesity have brought increases in pediatric hypertension. Unfortunately many cases are going undiagnosed among children and adolescents according to a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study reported that of 507 children and adolescents with hypertension, just 131 had a diagnosis of that condition or high blood pressure in the medical records. The study also found that if a pediatrician did not recognize the problem, it would be years before it was diagnosed and treated, resulting in unnecessary end-organ damage.

Blood pressure should be part of every office visit and high values recorded and attended to, particularly if children are overweight or obese. Blood pressure measurements are the result of the force of the blood produced by the heart and the size and condition of the arteries. Many factors can affect blood pressure, including how much water and salt you have in your body, the condition of your kidneys, nervous system, or blood vessels, and the levels of different body hormones.

High blood pressure can affect all types of people. You have a higher risk of high blood pressure if you have a family history of the disease. High blood pressure also is more common in African Americans than Caucasians. There are rarely symptoms, although headaches may be associated with high blood pressure in youth.

Photo credit: Sarah606

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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