Blood Pressure of Teens Increase With Internet Usage

A recent study from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit focused on 335 teenagers from the ages of 14 and 17 in part to see excessive if Internet usage is related to high blood pressure in teens. The study found that teens with high blood pressure also use the Internet for 2 hours or more each day. High blood pressure is not common in teens, and those who display chronic high blood pressure are diagnosed with hypertension, which is a condition that complicates a number of cardiovascular factors such as weight, diet and other predetermined risk of heart disease. Those with high blood pressure are more susceptible for fainting, strokes, heart attacks or arrhythmia patterns that can greatly affect quality of living.

The peer-reviewed study is titled Time Spent on the Internet and Adolescent Blood Pressure. It is the first of its kind in looking for a possible link between the two, and more data points will be needed in order to establish a noticeable trend. Information about the study was sent by mail beforehand to nearly 2,000 families whose children in that age group had been patients in one of their hospitals or clinics. Fliers were also placed in the clinics and advertised on their websites and in their monthly emails. A few hundred parents brought their children in for a physical screening. Blood pressure measurements were taken and the participants were asked if they used the Internet for 14 hours or more per week. Understanding the Internet usage trends of the participants is important for understanding whether or not there is a link or causation pattern concerning excessive Internet use.

Teenagers who have high blood pressure typically engage in sedentary lifestyles. Teens who do not participate in physical education classes at school and return home to play video games or surf the Internet are most likely to engage in unhealthy habits that can lead to heart complications later on. In order to fight obesity, the body must be aerobically active to burn off the energy created and stored in the body from eating. A sedentary lifestyle can be a factor in determining the risks of heart complications, so understanding lifestyle choices will help further education on the subject.

Teens should be reminded of the importance of eating right and staying active so that they can remain healthy and avoid as many health risks as possible. Lots of sugar and caffeine are poor diets that are terrible for a cardiovascular system, as are bad carbohydrates that can deposit on the walls of veins or arteries. A child that is at potential risk from heart problems genetically, it is important for them to understand their limitations and what safety measures are in place to minimize risks as much as possible.

One quarter of the teens studied who had high blood pressure also reported high usage of the Internet for the previous week. The study did not ask questions to identify how stressful their online experiences were, nor did it consider other sedentary acts such as television viewing or playing video games. The survey was conducted once across a wide cross-section of participants with relatively small amounts of data entries. The study hopes to start a trend with school nurses and asks for them to include questions about Internet usage annually with their school patients, especially for determining risks associated with heart health and high blood pressure among teens.

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