New guidelines lead to more children diagnosed with high blood pressure

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New guidelines have led to more children being diagnosed with high blood pressure.

According to a new study, high blood pressure in children has been linked to a higher risk of developing heart disease as an adult. 

High blood pressure is something four-year-old Jonsel Ortiz is used to, and it is something that Dr. Robin Kremsdorf, Pediatric Nephrologist, said doctors take seriously.

“Most children have normal blood pressure,”  Kremsdorf said. “But when a child does have high blood pressure, it could be a sign of a serious heart or kidney problem.”

The guidelines implemented in 2017 are based on a child’s age, weight, height, and sex. 

These guidelines are also for children under the age of 13. 

“For children thirteen and over, assuming that they are tall enough, the cut off in which we define high blood pressure is 130/80,” Kremsdorf said.

This is the same for adults. 

“Some of the time when a child has high blood pressure at the doctor’s office, they are simply nervous about being in the doctor’s office like lots of people are.”

But if it is high on three consecutive visits, more testing is warranted.

“The first part of any evaluation in the nephrology clinic at Hasbro is an ambulatory blood pressure monitor to determine what’s the child’s blood pressure outside of a medical setting.”

Most will not have high blood pressure, but it’s important to identify and treat those who do.​​​​​​​

“Children who have high blood pressure in childhood are more likely to have high blood pressure when they’re adults.”

Doctors say not every child with high blood pressure needs medication.

For some, lifestyle changes are enough; eating a healthy diet and getting regular physical activity will do. 

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