Reporting Kai Jackson
Catching it early. Hundreds of Maryland children could be facing serious health problems and not even know it.
Kai Jackson explains why local children are being urged to get tested for heart disease.
Doctors are sounding the alarm on heart disease in young people. A condition that many associate with adults and seniors is rearing its ugly head in teenagers.
“We’ve seen over 600 young high school athletes, and even the athletic, apparently healthy crowd, we found a lot of them having obesity and high blood pressure,” said Dr. Ted Abraham, a Johns Hopkins cardiologist.
The numbers tell the story. Obesity is a risk factor for heart disease. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene says among kids 13-18, 11 percent are obese.
On Saturday, a team from Johns Hopkins will screen 13-year-olds for heart disease at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute High School.
“That’s crazy. Screen children for heart disease?” said Majesty Harris of Essex.
“We’re testing for cholesterol and glucose, which would indicate diabetes,” Abraham said. “We’re also doing a very thorough questionnaire.”
Doctors say a high-fat diet, lack of exercise, and other lifestyle choices are the reasons for heart disease in young people.
“I just walked for heart disease with my family, my sister and my boyfriend,” Harris said. “We walked for my cousin because she died from a heart attack.”
The screenings at Poly are expected to take 5-6 minutes per person.
Johns Hopkins held a similar screening for athletes last year.