1 in 5 kids estimated to have high blood pressure

Some 20% of children have high blood pressure, WBAL-TV reported Feb. 17.

According to the Baltimore NBC affiliate, pediatricians start screening kids for high blood pressure at age 3, and it’s far more common than many would think.

“Children’s blood pressure, [the] high is actually going to be lower than the 120/80 we expect for adults,” pediatrician Ashanti Woods, of Mercy Medical Center, told the outlet. “In other words, a child’s blood pressure could be 110/70. Sounds good, but if the child is, say, a 4-year-old, that’s actually high blood pressure.”

Boston Children’s Hospital says that for children, there are no universal cut-offs for blood pressure like there are with adults, meaning a hypertension diagnosis is contingent on how a child compares to his peers in terms of gender, height and age.

Woods said high blood pressure in kids younger than 6 is likely due to chronic underlying disease; in children older than 6, it’s typically a lifestyle issue.

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