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Study: Sleep apnea in children could lead to high blood pressure issues as a teen

EL PASO, Texas - A recent study revealed that children who suffer from sleep apnea have a much higher risk of high blood pressure as a teen.

Dr. Chalam Mulukutla, a cardiologist with Las Palmas Medical Center in El Paso, discussed the findings of the study Friday on ABC-7 at Four. "Sleep apnea is a very common condition in the United States and it is typically seen with adults," Dr. Mulukutla explained. "What is interesting about this study specifically is children had a more likelihood of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) if they had sleep apnea."

More than 400 patients between the ages of 5 and 12 were part of the study. "In this particular study, what was important was those patients that have sleep apnea, when they studied them again in adolescence, they were three times more likely to develop high blood pressure compared to those who never had sleep apnea," said Dr. Mulukutla.

"We know that if we treat patients for sleep apnea, their blood pressure issues can improve."

Dr. Mulukutla said that parents need to be aware of how their children are sleeping. "If there is anything that is out of the ordinary, they’re snoring or things that might be different, talk to your child's physician. That's why we're recommending blood pressure checks annually for younger children as a way to monitor for any problems that may occur later on in teenage years."

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Mark Ross

Mark Ross is an anchor/producer for ABC-7.

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