About 20% W.Va. Kids Hypertensive

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Oct. 19 (UPI) — Almost 20 percent of fifth-graders in West Virginia are considered to have high blood pressure, researchers say.

As part of the Coronary Artery Risk Detection In Appalachian Communities study, researchers collected blood pressure data on more than 62,000 West Virginia fifth-graders and found that 12,245, or 19.7 percent, have high blood pressure.

“No other state is doing as comprehensive screening as we are,” Valerie Evans Minor, associate director for surveillance and co-founder of CARDIAC, says in a statement. “But with that comprehensive screening comes challenges.”

Among the challenges in the monitoring blood pressure in school is that school nurses already have heavy caseloads and prevention screening must often be put on a back burner for acute care. In addition, the noisy atmosphere of a school may not be conducive for taking blood pressure readings, Minor says.

“Screening is better than missing the opportunity altogether for finding kids at risk,” Minor says. “Ideal assessment can be done in follow-up in a more controlled environment.”

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