Canada's Silent Killer Rapidly Increasing in Children

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 Child Health News
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Hypertension Canada Releases Pediatric Guidelines to Support Diagnosing and Managing Hypertension in Canadian Children


May 17, 2017 /CNW/ - Hypertension Canada recently published new guidelines in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology for Canadian youth diagnosed with hypertension.  The 2017 Guidelines for the Diagnosis, Assessment,
Prevention, and Treatment of Pediatric Hypertension
are the first of their kind to be implemented in Canada.

"Unfortunately, one in fifty children under the age of 18 now have high blood pressure and we can't ignore the issue because the numbers are increasing," said Nadia Khan, President, Hypertension Canada. "Our goal is to ensure all health care professionals are attuned to the increasing prevalence of hypertension in children, and aware that these guidelines can help them to better identify, treat or refer appropriately their young patients."

Hypertension in Canadian children is associated with childhood obesity and lifestyle factors including sedentary activity patterns in youth.  Hypertension in very young children can also be the first clue to other chronic conditions, so Hypertension Canada recommends that all children over the age of 3 have their blood pressure assessed regularly.  The new evidence-based guidelines for the prevention and treatment of hypertension in children include ten guidelines specifically addressing health behaviour management, indications for drug therapy in children with hypertension, choice of therapy for children with primary hypertension, and goals of therapy for children with hypertension. 

Olivia, a delightful 13-year old girl that enjoys life outdoors in her British Columbia neighbourhood was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure.  Her mother, Rebecca, was initially surprised by the diagnosis, but is happy to know that new guidelines are now in place to help support children like Olivia.

"It's common to think of hypertension as an older person's concern.  I was lucky.  I had terrific support to help get the diagnosis and to manage the condition, but that's not everyone's experience," said Rebecca.  "By having guidelines in place, it will help those kids that are being missed."

The recommendations aim to guide primary care practitioners and pediatricians in identifying, investigating, and managing hypertension in children and adolescents and also provide recommendations on when referral to experts in pediatric hypertension is appropriate.  The guidelines also address health behaviour management, indications for drug therapy in children with hypertension, choice of therapy for children with primary hypertension, and goals of therapy for children with hypertension.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is known as the silent killer, is one of the main risk factors for heart, stroke, kidney and blood vessel diseases, and affects Canadians of all ages.  In fact, almost 1 million Canadians are not aware that they have hypertension and many are working-aged men and women. 

"A key first step to maintain or achieve healthy blood pressure is to know your numbers," says Dr. Khan. "Measure annually if your blood pressure is normal, and more often if you're working to lower it. Knowing your numbers can save your health."

To mark World Hypertension Day on May 17, Hypertension Canada is asking What's Your Number? and encouraging Canadians of all ages to take the time to get an accurate blood pressure measurement by visiting their health care professionals or one of the participating pharmacies across Canada. 

About Hypertension Canada

Hypertension Canada is Canada's only national non-profit organization dedicated solely to the prevention and control of hypertension and its complications. Powered by a professional volunteer network of the leading multidisciplinary experts in hypertension, Hypertension Canada publishes Canada's clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis, treatment and control of hypertension and pursues its mission through the advancement of research, professional and public education, and advocacy for healthy environments.

Media and the public can participate in World Hypertension Day by:

  • Visiting
  • Visiting a local pharmacy to get blood pressure checked

SOURCE Hypertension Canada


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