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I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.
Physicians will be asked to more aggressively monitor and treat high blood pressure among children and adolescents, based on new clinical guidelines recently published in Pediatrics.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, which issued the new guidelines, notes 3.5 percent of children and teens have abnormally high blood pressure (also called 'hypertension'), which often goes unnoticed and untreated.
The recommendations and efforts to treat kids and teens for high blood pressure are striking because the illness is often perceived to be more associated with among older (not younger) Americans.
Among an array of new monitoring recommendations, the guidelines suggest physicians use a 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure assessment to better diagnose hypertension in children and teens. The guidelines also suggest physicians adopt a blood pressure classification system that has been endorsed by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
Among the new treatment recommendations, the guidelines suggest physicians prescribe blood pressure-lowering medications if lifestyle changes fail to reduce a child or teen's high blood pressure levels.
The guidelines' 19 authors acknowledge one impact of their recommendations may result in increasing the number of children who need treatment for high blood pressure.
For example, the new guidelines suggest for the first time that physicians should compare the blood pressure among obese/overweight children and teens with their normal weight peers. The guidelines' authors explain the latter change may reveal more significant differences between children and teen blood pressure levels which in turn, fosters an increased need for treatment.
In a release from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Joseph Flynn M.D., who co-chaired the subcommittee that provided the new recommendations, says (and we quote): 'Prevention and early detection are key' (end of quote). Dr. Flynn adds (and we quote): 'High blood pressure levels tend to carry into adulthood, raising the risks for cardiovascular disease and other problems. By catching the condition early, we are able to work with the family to manage it, whether that's through lifestyle changes, medication, or a combination of treatments' (end of quote).
To provide some perspective on the need for more aggressive treatment, Dr. Flynn adds (and we quote): 'When left untreated, uncontrolled long-standing hypertension can have damaging effects on organs in the body, such as the heart, kidneys, and brain' (end of quote).
Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides an easy-to-read website about high blood pressure that can be found within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's high blood pressure health topic page. The Nemours Foundation provides a website about high blood pressure for teens that is accessible within the 'teenagers' section of MedlinePlus.gov's high blood pressure health topic page. The Nemours Foundation also provides a website about high blood pressure for kids within the 'children' section of MedlinePlus.gov's high blood pressure health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov's high blood pressure health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Clinical trials that may be occurring in your area can be found in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about high blood pressure as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's high blood pressure health topic page, please type 'high blood pressure' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'high blood pressure (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also contains health topic pages devoted to lowering blood pressure, children's health, and teen health.
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