Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. While it is a dangerous condition by itself, it can also lead to many other health issues in people. To create more awareness about hypertension, 17th May is celebrated as World Hypertension Day. As per reports by the World Health Organisation, high blood pressure can amount to almost 7.5 million deaths annually and accounts for about 12.8% of the total of all deaths.
In 2008 it was found that high blood pressure amounted to 40% in adults aged 25 and above. And since then, the number has just been increasing. However, when we think of high blood pressure we often associate it with elderly people or people in their mid-40s and 50s. At the most one would associate the condition with youngsters who have stressful jobs. But what one would not think is children developing high blood pressure.
We often don't think about such things but research suggests that even children need to be screened for high blood pressure regularly. And in fact, the condition has now started to become so prevalent in kids that it really needs more awareness. Certain studies were conducted which found that children who had elevated blood pressures during childhood had a higher risk of developing hypertension during their adult lives. In fact, they were even subject to other health problems like thickening of their heart walls and other cardiovascular diseases.
The study was conducted for a period of 36 years on almost 3940 children. While in 2004 it was found that 7% of the children had high blood pressure, in 2019 the number has increased to 11% which is alarming. It was also found that in 2004, 12% of the children with high blood pressure developed thick walls in their heart but in 2017 the number had risen to 19%.
There are also new guidelines that have been set up for figuring out which children are more likely to develop health issues owing to elevated blood pressure. The previous guidelines only considered overweight children which is why other kids were often unnoticed and their conditions were not discovered until much later. The new guidelines include more relevant factors such as age, height, sex etc.
This goes to prove that we most definitely need to pay more attention to the health of the kids around us and screen them for conditions that we might think are unlikely for them to develop. Stay tuned for more updates.