MONDAY, June 18 (HealthDay News) -- The number of children hospitalized with high blood pressure nearly doubled in a single decade, according to a new study.
Not only are more children being diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension), but these children also cost more to treat and stay longer in the hospital, researchers from the University of Michigan said.
"The increasing hospitalizations may in part be due to the rise in childhood obesity," said lead researcher Dr. Cheryl Tran, a pediatrician at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, which is affiliated with the university.
"A child with high blood pressure is at increased risk of developing high blood pressure in adulthood and the long-term complications that are associated with hypertension," she added.
Counseling families and providing education on healthy diet and exercise, as well as identifying hypertension in children early on to provide the appropriate therapy, may be the first steps toward preventing the disease and its complications, Tran said.
The report was published June 18 in the journal Hypertension.
To see the effects of hypertension, Tran's team used data from the Kids' Inpatient Database of the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project from 1997, 2000, 2003 and 2006.
They found that children diagnosed with hypertension when admitted to hospitals increased from about 12,600 in 1997 to about 24,600 in 2006.
During that period, the cost of caring for these children in hospitals increased 50 percent to an estimated $3.1 billion. This figure does not include the cost of outpatient treatment, which is unknown, the researchers noted.
The biggest increase in cost was for treating children with hypertension and end-stage kidney disease.
Children with high blood pressure stayed in the hospital twice as long as children without high blood pressure -- eight days ve
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