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duke university medical center
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obesity rates
childhood obesity
Bad News About High Blood Pressure Comes From All Fronts Including For Children
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Bad News About High Blood Pressure Comes From All Fronts Including for Children

Hypertension is on the rise and that is only the beginning of the bad news. Like Type II Diabetes, hypertension was once thought to be reserved for older adults but both are currently striking more and more children at increasingly younger ages. According to Debbie Gipson, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan Health Systems, the number of kids who are hospitalized for complications related to high blood pressure has doubled in the last decade. That is partly explained by the rising numbers of childhood obesity.

In the journal, Hypertension, Gipson's research revealed that nearly 24,000 children were admitted into pediatric hospitals in 2006, twice as many as were reported in 1997. It is estimated now that one in every three kids, ages two to nineteen have high blood pressure. Those children are all at higher risk for serious complications including further damage to their cardiovascular system as well as kidney disease. Obese children are at a much higher risk for having high blood pressure.

In addition to increase hospital visits, Gipson's research found that the time each child spent admitted to a facility was nearly twice as long as those who did not have high blood pressure.

A second research study, this one done by Duke University Medical Center showed that low income or low education young adults were more likely to have high blood pressure because of their weight while the same age group from higher income or higher education backgrounds were at higher risk because of increased alcohol consumption. Beverly Brummett, an Associate Research Professor at the Medical Center studied gathered information from more than fourteen thousand young adults, ages twenty four to thirty two finding that both increased alcohol consumption and obesity rates were linked to the two social classes. Those with higher incomes and education were more likely to have increased risk factors in addition to their alcohol use while the lower income, lower education youths were more likely to have poor eating habits and get little to no exercise.

Among the risk factors for high blood pressure, obesity is considered to be at the top of the list. In addition, there are others that include genetics and family history as well as food intake and kidney disease. Blood pressure fluctuations might be normal for each individual and should be evaluated regularly. Medication should be the step that is taken after diet and exercise have failed especially for the young children.


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