Childrenís Heart Disease Risk
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Children can have high blood pressure. With the recent rise in childhood obesity, more children than ever are at risk. This could result in a rise in heart disease as these children get older. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

The rate of premature heart disease among obese teens is set to triple, and the increasing prevalence of high blood pressure in children is a big reason for the expected rise.

The presence of child obesity results in higher rates of high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke and heart attack. It puts children at risk for premature cardiac events earlier in life.

Seventeen percent of children are obese and 20 percent are overweight, which means that about 12 million children under age 18 are overweight or obese.

It is estimated that 4 percent of children have high blood pressure and another 4 percent have pre-hypertension, meaning that they are at risk of developing high blood pressure in the future. Pediatricians typically begin to measure blood pressure when a child turns 3 as part of a standard well visit.

Treating children with high blood pressure or pre-hypertension starts with lifestyle changes. This means trying to modify diet, increase physical activity and controlling their weight.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.