A new University of Michigan study finds that hospitalizations for children with high blood pressure and related charges dramatically increased during the 10 years ending in 2006.
This nationally-based study is the first in which researchers examined hypertension hospitalizations in children. It appears in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.
Researchers found that pediatric hypertension-related hospitalizations in the United States soared, from 12,661 in 1997 to 24,602 in 2006.
They believe that the increasing hospitalizations may in part be due to the rise in childhood obesity.
Hypertension is present in 1 percent to 3 percent of children in the United States.
Among children ages 2 to 19 years, 31.7 percent are overweight (23.6 million) and 16.9 percent are obese (12.6 million), according to American Heart Association statistics.
Physicians should address healthy lifestyle habits during children’s well visits to reduce hypertension, said Cheryl Tran, M.D., study lead author and fellow in the Department of Pediatric Nephrology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
“A child with high blood pressure is at increased risk for having high blood pressure in adulthood and the heart and stroke risks that come with that diagnosis,” Dr. Tran noted.
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Hypertension, AHA.111.188813 Published online before print June 18, 2012, “Recent Trends in Healthcare Utilization Among Children and Adolescents With Hypertension in the United States”, Cheryl L. Tran, Brett J. Ehrmann, Kassandra L. Messer, Emily Herreshoff, Amber Kroeker, Larysa Wickman, Peter Song, Nicole Kasper, Debbie S. Gipson, Division of Pediatric Nephrology, Department of Pediatrics, CS Mott Children’s Hospital, University of Michigan, 1540 E Hospital Dr, SPC 4297, Room 12-250, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-4297