The recent guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) today suggest that more teens and children will be possibly diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Estimates have it that about 3-5 percent of kids and teens in the U.S live with hypertension or significant high blood pressure. However, experts say that the real prevalence is possibly way higher because the readings go undetected when there’s an elevated blood pressure.
Dr David Kaelber, the co-chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Subcommittee on Screening and Management of High B.P in Children, said if hypertension is diagnosed, there are several ways which they can treat it. Kaelber who developed the report pointed out that that the health condition is often neglected because the symptoms are often not pronounced.
The recent guidelines are more of an update of the 2004 released guidelines by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute endorsed by AAP. It includes new blood pressure tables according to the normal-weight kids. Initially, the tables were made up of blood pressures of obese or overweight teens and kids who are more exposed to hypertension.
Following the change, the new guidelines feature tables with values lower than that of the former, allowing for more precise classification of blood pressure in line with the patient’s body weight. However, a co-chair of the subcommittee, Dr. Joseph Flynn said that the issue of blood pressure often moves into adulthood, raising the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other health problems. He went on to say that catching the condition makes them work well with the family to manage the health status. It could be controlled via lifestyle changes, the combination of treatments or medication.
The new guideline was developed by a committee of 20 experts who reviewed about 15,000 journals and studies published in 2004.
If high blood pressure is left untreated, it can have a significant effect on the health, including kidneys, heart and brain damage.
AAP advocate routine blood checks
The AAP report urges paediatricians to conduct routine blood pressure checks on their patients during every annual visit. They should go by a less complicated screening table that spots blood pressures that require further evaluation and place the patients on medications that lower blood pressures if lifestyle changes prove abortive or if the patient has other health conditions such as kidney disease or diabetes.
According to the guidelines, lifestyle changes, good diet and increased physical activities should remain the first option when it comes to defence against high blood pressure and obesity.
Kaelber said the new guidelines give an avenue for paediatricians to spot and analyse this chronic disease in patients. He added that the smooth side was coming up with the new guidelines, now the harder part sets in – implementing the new guidelines in helping kids and adolescents.