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An increasing number of children are developing hypertension, a major risk factor for heart disease


HYPER ABOUT TENSION: Without intervention, children with high blood pressure are likely to become adults with high blood pressure, a risk factor for potentially fatal heart disease.


“BEING YOUNG” is not a typical risk factor that comes to mind when thinking about dangerous heart conditions, nor do we expect the pediatrician to test for signs of such problems at an annual checkup. But in August, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised its guidelines for the screening, diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure in youth, the first time these standards have been updated since 2004. The new recommendations simplified the diagnostic procedures for pediatric and adolescent high blood pressure, made the definition for hypertension more similar to adult guidelines and changed the term “prehypertension” to “elevated blood pressure.” The changes make it easier for doctors to spot a growing health threat that seems unbelievable: Children and adolescents are increasingly at risk for a heart condition that has always been tied to aging. “We think of someone with hypertension as being that 50-year-old man down the street, but it’s becoming more and more common even in young children,” says Dr. David Kaelber, a pediatric and internal medicine physician at Case Western Reserve University.

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BLAME CLINTON? When Gennifer Flowers went public about her a air with then-Governor Bill Clinton, she called a press conference that devolved from farce to vaudeville. It became clear that the retaining wall between news and entertainment had collapsed.