New York: Hypertension or high blood pressure is rapidly increasing in children, largely as a consequence of their obesity.
This high blood pressure in children and adolescents can significantly affect their mental skills, a study has found.
In the study, children with hypertension performed low on cognitive tests on visual and verbal memory, processing speed, and verbal skills.
Children with sleep issues were found to have had hypertension, which intensified the effect of poor sleep on cognition and executive function, the researchers said.
Knowing how these physical changes might affect cognitive skills could be important in future studies that assess whether anti-hypertensive treatments could improve cognitive performance in children with hypertension and reverse or prevent future adult hypertension-related problems, said Marc B. Lande from the University of Rochester in New York, US.
In the study, researchers compared different tests of cognitive skills in 75 children aged between 10-18 years with newly-diagnosed hypertension and 75 children without hypertension.
The children with hypertension were not cognitively impaired, but rather performing less well than children without hypertension.
Overall, this study provides evidence that hypertension in children is associated with a subtle pattern of decreased performance on cognitive testing, the authors concluded.
The study is forthcoming in The Journal of Pediatrics.