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High BP in childhood may raise risk of heart attack, stroke: Study

A recent study conducted by researchers at McMaster University has shed light on the concerning long-term implications of high BP in children and adolescents. The findings suggest that young people diagnosed with hypertension face a heightened risk of experiencing severe heart problems later in life

Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: May 04, 2024 9:30 IST
High BP in childhood
Image Source : ISTOCK High BP in childhood may raise risk of heart attack, stroke

A recent study revealed that hypertension during childhood and adolescence can significantly increase the likelihood of serious heart conditions such as stroke and heart attack by up to four times. This condition, affecting approximately one in every 15 young individuals globally, is raising concerns due to its growing prevalence.

To gauge its long-term impact, researchers analysed data from 25,605 youngsters diagnosed with hypertension between 1996 and 2021 in Ontario, Canada, and compared it with a control group. Over a follow-up period of 13 years, it was found that those with hypertension faced a two to fourfold higher risk of encountering heart attack, stroke, heart failure, or requiring cardiac surgery compared to their counterparts without the condition.

Experts called for boosting blood pressure screening and treatment during childhood to reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular disease as an adult. "Devoting more resources to paediatric blood pressure screening and control could lower the risks of long-term heart conditions in children with hypertension," said Cal H. Robinson, paediatric nephrology fellow at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Canada.

"More awareness about the importance of regular screening and follow-up for paediatric hypertension may prevent children from developing significant adverse heart outcomes later in life," Robinson added.

The findings will be presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2024 Meeting, held May 3-6 in Toronto.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a chronic medical condition characterized by elevated pressure within the arteries. It occurs when the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries is consistently too high. This heightened pressure can strain the heart, leading to potential damage to blood vessels, organs, and other tissues throughout the body.

A typical blood pressure measurement falls within the range of 90/60mmHg to 120/80mmHg, while readings of 140/90mmHg or above indicate high blood pressure, medically termed hypertension.

Hypertension is impacting roughly one out of every 15 children and teenagers worldwide, with its prevalence increasing, sparking concern among researchers. In India, hypertension contributes to over 10.8% of all fatalities, and its emergence among young people is becoming increasingly evident.

(with IANS inputs)

ALSO READ: Men face greater risk of early death, women encounter greater health challenges: Lancet study

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