(HealthDay News) — More US children are likely to be diagnosed and treated for hypertension under new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The updated clinical practice guideline was published online Aug. 21 in Pediatrics.

Under the new, simplified tables, children will have their blood pressure measured against normal-weight children, so ideal readings will likely be lower than in the past. Obese or overweight children — who were included under earlier guidelines — are more likely to have hypertension, possibly skewing recommended measurements. As a result of this change, it’s thought more children could be categorized as needing treatment.

Other changes to the guidelines include a more limited recommendation to check blood pressure measurements only at preventive care visits, a streamlined evaluation and management of abnormal readings, revised recommendations on when to perform echocardiography, and a revised definition of left ventricular hypertrophy. The new guidelines also offer an expanded role for ambulatory blood pressure monitoring in the diagnosis and management of pediatric hypertension. And the academy recommends adults and teens use the same blood pressure tables.

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“This clinical practice guideline, endorsed by the American Heart Association, is intended to foster a patient- and family-centered approach to care, reduce unnecessary and costly medical interventions, improve patient diagnoses and outcomes, support implementation, and provide direction for future research,” write the authors of the guidelines.

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  1. Flynn JT, Kaelber DC, Baker-Smith CM, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline for Screening and Management of High Blood Pressure in Children and Adolescents. Pediatrics. 2017 Aug 21. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-1904