Bone Growth Rate Could be Predictor of High Blood Pressure in Children

October 25, 2009

Blood Pressure Cuff According to researchers, children with accelerated bone growth, or whose bones are “older” than their chronological age, could be at an increased risk of high blood pressure (hypertension). The researchers suggest that markers of biological maturity should be evaluated in children with high blood pressure, and that physical activity and diet could deter the accelerated development of biological maturity.

This study compared bone age as a marker of biological maturation in hypertensive children with healthy controls closely matched for body mass index (BMI), age and sex, to assess the association between skeletal maturation and high blood pressure.

The investigators X-rayed the left-hand wrists of 54 children (average age 14.2 years) with high blood pressure and compared them to X-ray images of 54 children with optimal blood pressure. Both groups were compared with reference images and rates of maturity were defined as physiological, accelerated and delayed.

Results showed that the healthy controls had a mean bone age of 14.7, which was not significantly different from their mean chronological age. However, in the group with primary hypertension mean bone age was found to be 16.0 years, reflecting an accelerated rate almost two years more than their chronological age of 14.1 years. The rate of bone age was the strongest predictor of blood pressure status. The researchers proposed that that some lifestyle modifications, such as increased physical activity and diet, might influence both metabolic abnormalities and the tempo of biological maturity.

1. Pludowski P, Niemirska A, Sladowska J, et al. Accelarated skeletal maturation in children with primary hypertension. Hypertension 2009; DOI: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.109.139949.

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