High Blood Pressure in Children
7 Healthcast: High Blood Pressure in Children
But, new research shows more and more children now have high blood pressure, and most doctors aren't even looking for it.
17-year-old Jessica Corser looks like a typical teenager, texting her friends, listening to her i-pod.
JESSICA CORSER/ HAS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
"If I walked up two steps, I would be out of breath."
The Maryland teen was diagnosed with high blood pressure when she was just seven years old.
She had no symptoms and her doctors never noticed , that is, until she fainted one day during school.
Her blood pressure had skyrocketed to 201 over 198.
DR. SUSAN FURTH/PEDIATRIC NEPHROLOGIST
"I think her family didn't know. It hadn't been picked up."
Dr. Susan Furth, a pediatric nephrologist at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, says the cause was kidney disease, which was never diagnosed.
The disease was causing not just high blood pressure, but also kidney failure and thickening of her heart.
DR. SUSAN FURTH/ PEDIATRIC NEPHROLOGIST
"If blood pressure is high and not detected you can have changes in the heart muscle that we call left ventricular hypertrophy and that is a cause of heart disease in the long run."
Doctors are concerned that too many children with hypertension are going undiagnosed because their physicians aren't checking.
DR. TAMMY BRADY/ PEDIATRIC NEPHROLOGIST
"High blood pressure in kids is something that we're seeing more and more. 25-35 years ago we were seeing it in 1 percent of kids, and now we're seeing it in 5 percent of kids."
Johns Hopkins looked at two-thousand children who had come into the hospital's clinic, more than 25 percent of them had elevated blood pressure. In 90 percent of those kids, the condition went unnoticed by their doctor.
DR. TAMMY BRADY/PEDIATRIC NEPHROLOGIST
"It's really asymptomatic, it's something that will not cause any problems in childhood, but if you imagine if you have high blood pressure as a child, or thickening of the heart as a child and you continue into adulthood, those problems will just compound themselves and you'll be a lot sicker and a lot sooner."
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