Air pollution exposure linked to high blood pressure in kids

High BP

High BP

In an editorial published with the study, Diane Gold, MD, and Antonella Zanobetti, PhD, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, wrote that the reliance on a single measure of blood pressure between the ages of 3 and 9 was a significant study limitation: "To understand the influence of prenatal, early life, and lifetime pollution on trajectories of BP, and to understand how new exposures during childhood may change BP trajectories, it would be useful to have repeated measures of BP over time for each child".

Women who breathe polluted air during pregnancy may be more likely to have children who develop high blood pressure, a US study suggests.

Breathing polluted air is never wise for anyone, but pregnant women may pay an especially unwanted price.

They include: the need to increase the awareness creation and education on the sources, causes, effects, management and control of air pollution (indoor and outdoor); the need to intensify capacity building and training development of the younger generations and upcoming scientists in environmental pollution management;and the need for improved synergy and collaboration amongst relevant regulatory agencies and professionals bodies responsible for control and management of air pollution in Nigeria.

The study included 1,293 mother-child pairs from the Boston Birth Cohort, which is a predominantly urban, low-income minority population.

"Not only does exposure increase the risk of illness and death in those directly exposed, but it may also cross the placental barrier in pregnancy and affect fetal growth and increase future risks for high blood pressure".

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Past studies have linked high blood pressure in both children and adults with direct exposure to air pollution. "The findings of our study provide additional support for maintaining, if not lowering, the standard of 12 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic meter set in 2012 by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards under the Clean Air Act", said Dr. Mueller. He says the government needs regulations to keep the air clean, for the health of the planet and the health of our children. When they sorted children into three groups from highest to lowest levels of exposure to PM 2.5 in the womb, children in the highest-exposure group were 61 percent more likely to have high blood pressure than kids with the lowest exposure. About 160 of the children had elevated blood pressure.

Children were identified as having high blood pressure if their systolic blood pressure was in the highest 10 percent for kids the same age.

"The observed association between maternal PM2.5 and offspring SBP association seems to be partly mediated by the effects of PM2.5 on fetal and childhood weight gain", the researchers concluded.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and a leading cause of disability contributes to an estimated 7.5 million deaths worldwide each year, researchers noted in the journal Hypertension.

Still, the current study offers fresh evidence linking air pollution to high blood pressure in kids, particularly because the connection appeared for kids at all birth weights in the current study. In 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guidelines for screening and managing high blood pressure in youth.

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