Hypertension Is Highly Ignored In U.S. Kids – Dr. Kaelber Study

Over 1.5 million U.S. youngsters have undiagnosed high blood pressure, says a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Wednesday, Aug. 22.

The study, chaired by Dr. David Kaelber of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Harvard Medical School, revealed that three quarters of the 2 million U.S. youngsters who are estimated to have high blood pressure don't realized the problem. This leaves them at risk for developing organ damage in their future life.

The study was conducted on the 14,187 subjects aged three to eight, and among all subjects, 507 (3.6 %) were found to have a high blood pressure problem, but just 131 of them (26%) had a documented diagnosis.

According to Dr. Kaelber, the problem is usually ignored by most of doctors because they consider it as an adult problem; “Hypertension in children is highly underdiagnosed," said Dr. Kaelber.

Dr. Kaelber said, "It was a very uncomfortable situation of telling parents, not only is your child overweight, but also your child has high blood pressure; they would get angry about this and say, 'How come other doctors I've been seeing have never told me about this?'"

The consequences of a high blood pressure problem in children are still uncertain but there is some evidence that it might cause early artery and heart damage in young patients. Untreated high blood pressure can cause health problems, such as heart disease, strokes, artery damage, and kidney disease; the problems that usually take years to develop.