Keeping an eye on blood pressure in teens is vitally important in preventing major cardiovascular problems later in life. Over time, this increased pressure pm the artery walls can damage the arteries, heart and kidneys.A recent 15-year study shows by age 10, some black children already have higher nighttime blood pressure. By identifying these early warning signs, we can guide our young people towards a more heart healthy future through lifestyle changes in diet and exercise. “Excess sodium greatly increases the chance of developing hypertension, heart disease and stroke,” said Dr. J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Association. “The AMA has long supported a reduction of sodium in processed foods, fast food products and restaurant meals as a means to lower sodium intake and reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease among Americans.”

The Chad Foundation includes blood pressure testing in its heart screening programs. In our pilot program in Springfield, MA, 13% of the student screened had elevations of systolic BP greater than 135.mmHg. Most recently, a report in JAMA found that 75% of hypertension children were undiagnosed, an estimate that upwards of 1.1 million children were at risk.