More children and teenagers are expected to be categorized as having abnormal blood pressure when they go for their annual checkups, based on new recommendations released today by the American Academy of Pediatrics, CNN reports.
The new guidelines, published today in the journal Pediatrics, are aimed at prevention. The guidelines include new diagnosis tables based on normal-weight children.
“The academy convened a 20-person committee to update the previous guidelines, issued in 2004, and develop new evidence-based recommendations,” CNN reports. “As part of its work, the committee reviewed nearly 15,000 articles focused on diagnosis, evaluation and early management of abnormally high blood pressure in children and teens.
“An estimated 3.5% of all children and teens in the United States have hypertension, according to the guidelines.”
Said Dr. Joseph T. Flynn, lead author of the guidelines: “The prevalence of 3.5% is based on fairly recent large-scale screening studies.” Flynn noted that in the past the percentage of children diagnosed with high blood pressure was in the 1% to 2% range.
The report notes: “High blood pressure is mostly a ‘silent’ condition, with no visible symptoms. Yet it can have long-term health consequences, including cardiovascular disease.”