ASH: Masked Hypertension Spotted in At-Risk Children

When parents have hypertension, abdominal obesity, kids at higher risk of masked hypertension
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, May 3 (HealthDay News) -- Children and adolescents whose parents have hypertension and larger waist and hip circumference are at increased risk of having masked hypertension, suggesting the need for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring outside the doctor's office, according to research presented at the American Society of Hypertension's 25th Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition, held from May 1 to 4 in New York City.

In a prospective study, Claudia Maria Salgado, M.D., of the Federal University of Goiás in Brazil, and colleagues evaluated 99 children and adolescents, aged 5 to 15 years, for family blood pressure history, weight, height, body mass index, and waist and hip circumference. They analyzed 82 patients whose office blood pressure was below the 95th percentile.

The researchers found that 70 had normal blood pressure (<90th percentile) and 12 were pre-hypertensive (>90th and <95th percentile). Through ambulatory blood pressure monitoring outside the doctor's office, 10 were diagnosed with masked hypertension. Children of parents with hypertension had more than a four-fold increased risk of masked hypertension, and children of parents with hypertension and abdominal obesity had a nine-fold increased risk.

"The children found to be hypertensive with ambulatory blood pressure monitoring were not even in a pre-hypertensive state in the doctor's office. Their blood pressure was normal," Salgado said in a statement. "The fact that the blood pressure rates for these patients escalated so significantly is alarming and warrants attention, if additional data confirm these findings."

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