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Paper of the Day - Hypertension in children going undiagnosed

High blood pressure in children and teenagers is common, but is undiagnosed in 1 in 4 cases, according to a new study.

The prevalence of hypertension in children is rising and is expected to worsen with the growing number of cases of paediatric obesity.

In a study of more than 14,000 children aged 3 to 18, 507 children met the diagnostic criteria for hypertension.

Only 131, or 26%, had been formally diagnosed with hypertension – despite all children having been observed three times of more in outpatient clinics in the US between June 1999 and September 2006.

The researchers, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, US, concluded: 'If abnormal blood pressure is not identified, it may be years before the abnormal blood pressure is detected, leading to end-organ damage. These long term sequelae can be avoided with early diagnosis.'

Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007;298(8):874-879.

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