West Virginia school-based screening reveals significant high blood pressure rate

Oct 13, 2010

It's not easy to wrangle fifth graders from noisy school hallways to get their blood pressure checked. But with an age-adjusted death rate due to heart disease substantially above the national average, West Virginia has a good reason to try.

In CARDIAC ( Risk Detection In Appalachian Communities), researchers collected blood pressure data on more than 62,000 West Virginia fifth graders and found that 12,245, or 19.7 percent, fall into the 95th percentile or above for blood pressure readings, based on norms for height and gender. Those children are considered to have .

"No other state is doing as comprehensive screening as we are," said Valerie Evans Minor, associate director for surveillance and co-founder of CARDIAC. "But with that comprehensive screening comes challenges."

Among them are school nurses with heavy caseloads. "Prevention often has to take a back seat to acute or even chronic care," Minor said.

Researchers in CARDIAC adapted by using upper-level students in the health sciences to help do readings.

Another challenge is the chaotic school environment — which can be far from the ideal quiet setting recommended for measuring blood pressure.

Minor said it's important to be realistic about what screening programs can achieve. "They do not diagnose," she said. " is better than missing the opportunity altogether for finding kids at risk. Ideal assessment can be done in follow-up in a more controlled environment."

Explore further: Distracted driving among teens threatens public health and safety

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Severe hypertension: 'Silent killer' still on the loose

Jan 31, 2008

High blood pressure may be one of the top killers in the country, but you’d never know it by the way we’re behaving, say scientists attending the annual congress of the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM).

Recommended for you

US judge overturns state's abortion law (Update)

13 hours ago

A federal judge on Wednesday overturned a North Dakota law banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy and before many women know they're pregnant.

User comments : 0

More news stories

New clinical trial launched for advance lung cancer

Cancer Research UK is partnering with pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Pfizer to create a pioneering clinical trial for patients with advanced lung cancer – marking a new era of research into personalised medicines ...

More vets turn to prosthetics to help legless pets

A 9-month-old boxer pup named Duncan barreled down a beach in Oregon, running full tilt on soft sand into YouTube history and showing more than 4 million viewers that he can revel in a good romp despite lacking ...