HealthDay News — Pediatric obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with elevated blood pressure (eBP) in adolescence, according to a study published online June 23 in JAMA Cardiology.

Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Ph.D., from Penn State University in Hershey, and colleagues examined the correlation of pediatric OSA with eBP. A random sample of 700 children aged 5 to 12 years were studied in 2000 to 2005; 421 were followed up in 2010 to 2013 at ages 12 to 23 years.

The researchers observed a longitudinal association between persistent apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) of 2 or more since childhood with adolescent eBP (odds ratio [OR], 2.9; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 7.5), while no correlation was seen for a remitted AHI of 2 or more (OR, 0.9; 95 percent CI, 0.3 to 2.6). There was a dose-response correlation of adolescent OSA with eBP: the correlation of an AHI of 2 to <5 was nonsignificant (OR, 1.5; 95 percent CI, 0.9 to 2.6), while that of an AHI of 5 or more was about twofold (OR, 2.3; 95 percent CI, 1.1 to 4.9) after adjustment for visceral adipose tissue. In female participants, childhood OSA was not associated with adolescent eBP, while the risk of OSA and eBP was greater for male participants.

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“Our study showed that pediatric sleep apnea can act as a gateway to future hypertension,” Fernandez-Mendoza said in a statement. “Because most cases of sleep apnea go undiagnosed in adults and children alike the problem needs more attention.”

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