Most people think that high blood pressure is a cardiovascular disease that only affects adults, but children can develop it too. That means, they are at risk for having high blood pressure once they reach adulthood though. So 20 people from the American Academy of Pediatrics gathered together recently to modify the standards for the diagnosis of high blood pressure in children. And this resulted in an increase in the amount of children who will have confirmed cases of the condition this year.
Usually, doctors don’t diagnose children with any form of hypertension until they have steady blood pressure readings that are over 130/80. But now, they are classifying high blood pressure as any reading that is between 120/80 and 130/80. This is important because it will allow an early intervention for children who used to not qualify for treatment.
The changes to the standards for high blood pressure will aid the most in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in children if all of them are checked regularly during routine doctor’s visits. Parents who assume that only obese children can have this condition could miss the opportunity to help their child who falls in the healthy weight range, but still has high blood pressure.
While this might seem strange, the reasoning behind it is that there are many health problems that can cause the condition besides excess weight gain. For instance, stress, hyperthyroidism, and kidney problems all increase blood pressure readings in people of all ages.
So while the new changes to the standards for blood pressure readings could increase the total amount of children who are diagnosed, this doesn’t mean that there is truly a rise in the amount of children who are suffering from the disease. It is simply an encouragement for doctors to start having discussions with their patients about modifications to their lifestyle, which could help lower their risk for long-term cardiovascular problems.