Measuring sodium in children’s urine may help identify risk for high blood pressure later in life.
“Hypertension is no longer an adult disease,” says Gregory Harshfield, director of the Institute of the Georgia Prevention Center at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Ga.
Harshfield, who recently led a small study, found that measuring the levels of sodium in a child’s urine can help identify risk for adult hypertension. Using a new protocol to quickly screen the amount of sodium retention in the urine of 19 children aged 10-19 years, researchers found that out of the eight who retained sodium, seven had high blood pressure.
Stress can affect the body’s ability to properly excrete sodium, such as when children get nervous while in a doctor’s office, so the study participants provided a urine sample before and after their visit to a physician. Sodium retention increases fluid in the blood vessels, which can impact blood pressure. High blood pressure can develop over time if the body can’t properly regulate sodium, and is a serious risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Harshfield said that the test results “could also provide useful information that could help pediatricians better manage and treat hypertension in their patients.”
If children already have high blood pressure, parents and physicians might want to try RESPeRATE as a treatment option before exposing them to meds and their side-effects. RESPeRATE is the only non-drug therapy cleared by the FDA and clinically proven to lower high blood pressure and the reduction of stress.
Since obese and overweight children are most at risk to develop hypertension, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest the following preventative measures:
- Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.
- The dietary and physical activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society, including families, communities, schools, child care settings, medical care providers, faith-based institutions, government agencies, the media, and the food and beverage industries and entertainment industries.
- Schools play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and physical activity behaviors.