Kids' High Blood Pressure Linked to Sleep Problems

Hypertension in pediatric population mimics obstructive sleep apnea in adults

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SATURDAY, Oct. 7, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- High blood pressure is associated with sleep breathing problems in children, say U.S. researchers.

Their study of 20 children, aged 4 to 18, found that 60 percent of them had sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), which includes obstructive sleep apnea and obstructive hypoventilation -- a condition where breathing isn't adequate to meet the body's needs.

The findings were expected to be presented Oct. 7 at an American Heart Association meeting in San Antonio.

"SDB is important because it can result in daytime sleepiness, limited attention span, poor school performance, hyperactivity, poor growth and increased blood pressure in the lungs," study author Dr. Alisa A. Acosta, a fellow in pediatric kidney disease and hypertension at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, said in a prepared statement.

"We know there's a link in adults between obstructive sleep apnea -- the most common of the SDBs -- and high blood pressure, so we were curious to see if the same link exists in our pediatric population," Acosta said.

Known risk factors for SDB in children are obesity and enlarged tonsils. The study suggested that high blood pressure is also a risk factor. Symptoms of SDB in children include snoring, restless sleep, morning headaches and excessive daytime sleepiness.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children and high blood pressure.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Oct. 7, 2006


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