Risk factors for blood pressure start young
Nighttime Blood Pressure and Young Age
By age 10, some black children already have high nighttime blood pressure, an early signal of impending cardiovascular disease, a new study shows.
As they grow up, black children also show greater increases in nighttime blood pressure, according to a study that followed children's blood pressures over 15 years.
Blacks experience less of a dip in nighttime blood pressure than whites. The gap between the pressure measurements of whites and blacks also widens as children get older.
At night, blood pressure should drop because the body is resting, says Dr. Gregory Harshfield, director of MCG's Georgia Prevention Institute and a co-author on the study published in the Dec. 19 edition of Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.
One reason for the higher nighttime pressure is some blacks retain more sodium, which increases fluid volume in their bodies and their blood pressure, according to researchers.
To determine pressure differences between black and white children and at what age those differences occur, Dr. Frank Treiber, vice president for research and study co-author measured the ambulatory blood pressures of almost 700 children 12 times during 15 years.
"Most previous studies have looked at a cross section of people and this 15-year study allows us to look at one population over an extended period of time," says Dr. Xiaoling Wang, genetic epidemiologist and the study's lead author. "This helps us identify the age that these problems begin to occur