Pediatric Hypertension on the Rise

September 11th, 2012  |  The Blog

A recently study published in Hypertension, indicated that hospitalizations for children with hypertension have doubled over the course of the past ten years. In 2006, nearly 25,000 children were hospitalized in the U.S. due to high blood pressure. This concerning trend proves that hypertension is not just an adult disease, which most people believe.

The Pediatric Patient Population

Who is most affected in the pediatric population? According to a demographic study, the statistics report that the groups most often diagnosed with pediatric hypertension in recent years are:

  • Male
  • African American descent
  • Over 9 years old

It is also noted that the affected patients are most often treated in an urban teaching hospital for this condition.

The Causes

While there are some specific, significant medical reasons for pediatric hypertension (kidney disease, a Wilm’s tumor or endocrine issues), rising pediatric obesity is considered to be the primary driving force behind this alarming health trend. Research shows that 60% of pediatric patients with persistent hypertension are overweight according to the published height and weight standards.

Financial Ramifications

Treating the inpatient pediatric population with hypertension cost an estimated $3.1 billion over the ten-year study period. That figure reflects a 50% increase in the healthcare cost specifically for this rising health issue. Outpatient charges are not included in this startling figure.

The average hospital stay for a child with hypertension is eight days. Other health issues like kidney disease often complicate the course of treatment.

Treatment Options

With obesity being the most common secondary diagnosis in cases of pediatric hypertension. Patient teaching and family counseling about a healthy diet and regular exercise are the most critical treatment components.

There are a variety of medication options available with safe and effective pediatric dosing to control high blood pressure.

This is a serious health concern with a far-reaching effect. Researchers report that 30% of children diagnosed with hypertension also have some form of vascular involvement, including left ventricular hypertrophy.

Regularly screening children for hypertension is an important component of preventive healthcare. Early detection of hypertension in children is critical in order to provide timely and appropriate treatment. In most cases, when a child is diagnosed early in the process, the outcomes are far more positive.

 

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