Tracking and Monitoring Children's Blood Pressure: The Value, Significance, and Consequences
Allison, Andrea L.
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The first goal of Healthy People 2010 is to help individuals of all ages increase life expectancy and improve their quality of life (Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 2001). Hypertension in the early years of life can contribute to increased morbidity as well as a decreased life expectancy due to end organ damage. A child's low birth weight or family history may contribute to primary or essential hypertension; however, this disorder is increasing in frequency due to the childhood obesity epidemic. Early identification enables health care providers to treat and educate the child and family thus preventing the progression of hypertension. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has established guidelines for identification and treatment of childhood hypertension. Nurses are positioned to identify child hypertension early in a variety of settings using the current guidelines. This article focuses on practical suggestions for nurses to improve the early identification of and education regarding childhood pre-hypertension and hypertension, thereby preventing the onset and minimizing the effects of hypertension in children.