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Do your children have high blood pressure?

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Do your children have high blood pressure? If they do chances are good you might not know it. A new study finds high blood pressure is often missed in kids. High blood pressure -- also known as hypertension -- is considered an adult illness, but studies show that as many as one in 20 children have the problem. Now new research finds that high blood pressure often goes undiagnosed in children and teens. Doctors examined more than 14,000 kids and found that close to four percent of them had hypertension. However, medical records showed that nearly three quarters of these children had never been diagnosed with high blood pressure. An additional 485 kids in the study had pre-hypertension, but doctors had diagnosed only 11 per cent of them. Physicians more often caught high blood pressure in older and taller children, as well as obese kids, who are known to be at-risk for the problem. Experts say that normal blood pressure readings for children change a lot with age, height and weight, so that pediatricians may not always recognize when a child is outside the accepted range. The authors suggest that a computer program built into children's electronic medical records could help doctors better detect cases of elevated blood pressure.

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