adolescents are encouraged to engage in non-competitive physical
activity to reduce the risk of hypertension. Individuals with
hypertension, the most common cardiovascular condition seen in
competitive athletes, can suffer complications when exercise causes
their blood pressure to rise too high.
In a new policy statement from
the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Athletic Participation by Children and Adolescents Who Have Systemic Hypertension,” published in
the June issue of Pediatrics (appearing online May 31), the
recommendations concerning the athletic participation of those with
hypertension are updated to include populations especially at risk,
including obese athletes and individuals with spinal cord injuries.
Other recommendations, including lifestyle modifications that include
daily exercise and a well-balanced diet, should be discussed at all
well-child visits. Patients with prehypertension should have their
blood pressure measured every 6 months, and medication, caffeine,
alcohol, tobacco, and stimulant use should be monitored because of the
effects these substances can have on blood pressure. Many athletes
with hypertension may be competitive, as long as they are properly
monitored and adopt healthy behaviors into their daily routine.
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians,
pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists
dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.