Doctors performing high blood pressure checks for children
SOUTH BEND —
You may notice changes at your child's next checkup.
Doctors are now screening our little ones for a long term medical condition that mostly affects older people.
The changes reflect new guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
They are calling on pediatricians to perform blood pressure checks at all annual visits. It is something some doctors in our area are already doing.
Christine Ramirez is a pediatrician at South Bend Clinic. She and her colleagues already do blood pressure checks for every child at every visit from age three.
That's because for years, data has been pointing to an increase in children and teens with high blood pressure.
The new guidelines are an update to guidelines released more than a decade ago. They include new diagnosis tables.
The tables now include normal weight children. Before they only included kids who were overweight.
Experts say high blood pressure readings were often going undetected.
Doctors say the new guidelines will help them identify issues earlier.
So what will this mean for families? You'll likely notice that your doctor will be doing blood pressure checks at every visit.
Longstanding hypertension is associated with higher rates of heart disease, heart attacks and stroke.
Lifestyle changes are the first line of defense.
Ramirez says you should make sure your child is getting a good diet and plenty of physical activity.