Should your child get screened for high blood pressure?

4:27 PM, Oct 7, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Hypertension -- or high blood pressure -- is on the rise in children. But the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has found little evidence that screening for high blood pressure benefits young patients. 

The recommendation, published in Pediatrics, says researchers did not find a strong link between routine blood pressure screenings and accurate predictions of who is at risk for heart problems. 

According to the article, the spike in childhood hypertension is probably due to "the increase in the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity." 

While the study didn't find enough evidence to recommend early blood screening, it also found insufficient evidence to recommend against it. The articles notes "the balance of benefits and harms cannot be determined."

This differs from the guidelines set out by the National High Blood Pressure Education Program, which recommends children ages three and up should receive routine blood pressure screening. 

Besides obesity, other red flags for hypertension include low birthweight and a family history of hypertension. 

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