Medical Minute 11-18: Hypertension: Targeting Kids

By: Ramin Khalili Email
By: Ramin Khalili Email

A disease that claims the lives of millions of people each year - is now targeting children.

"I was in school and I had passed out in the hallway," said Jessica Corser.

"I didn't feel bad...I was just all hyper kinda," said Cameron Casalena.

Cameron and Jessica both are living with high blood pressure. Today, Cameron's blood pressure is 126 over 67. That's quite a difference from his high of 168 over 100.

Johns Hopkins Pediatrician Tammy Brady says too many kids like Cameron are going undiagnosed.

"Children who, say, were not obese, who were thin had a blood pressure like I said 110 over 60, which is abnormal for the child but it's not an abnormal number you would think off hand...those were the ones to go undiagnosed," said Tammy Brady, M.D., Pediatrician Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

That's because what's normal for adults - is not normal for kids. Children need to be checked at every doctor's appointment. The trouble, checking involves more than just this.

"Not only do you have to get the child's height, you have to plot the height to get the percentile, and then you have to get blood pressure measurement which can be hard in a 3 or 4 year old," said Tammy Brady, M.D., Pediatrician Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

A study out of Johns Hopkins says only 20 percent of kids with hypertension are diagnosed with it. Jessica found out the hard way

"I was feeling' sick and I just passed out and that's how I found out," said Jessica Corser.

Jessica's high blood pressure caused her kidneys to shut down. Another complication for kids with high blood pressure. is sleep apnea. There is also an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and eye disease.

Now both Cameron and Jessica control their blood pressure with medications and a healthy life style.

"I feel like I do have it under control," said Jessica Corser.

Johns Hopkins Children's Center One Charles Center100 North Charles Street, Suite 200Baltimore, MD 21201Email :

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