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High blood pressure in children

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High blood pressure is no more a condition that affected older age group people; it can be detected in children as well. Experts say that most cases of childhood hypertension account to obesity. We shall analyse the condition in details over here.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in children

High blood pressure in children is asymptomatic.

When to see a doctor then?

The only way to figure out high blood pressure is through a routine health check for your kid. Blood pressure check-ups during infancy is needed when your child had premature birth, low birth weight or had been born with some congenital disorders.

Causes of High Blood Pressure in Children

There could be possibility of two kinds of high blood pressure in children.

Primary Hypertension- Blood pressure rises on its own with some associated risk factors but no underlying health disease. It shows up mostly in older children. The risk factors are:

  • Overweight or obese
  • High blood sugar
  • High cholesterol
  • Family history of hypertension

Secondary Hypertension- It’s more common in infants wherein high blood pressure is a result of underlying health issues and it could be congenital, like premature birth, low body weight, etc. Diseases that lead to high BP in younger children are:

  • Kidney diseases
  • Heart problem- narrowing of the aorta
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • Adrenal disorders

Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure in Children

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Blood pressure is measured manually with the regular BP measuring device – sphygmomanometer (also known as blood pressure device). Normal readings depend on three variable factors- gender, height and age.

High blood pressure cannot be diagnosed by a single reading. In fact, 3 readings will be taken under different circumstances to determine an elevated pressure.

On being diagnosed with hypertension, the doctor will suggest additional tests to check the condition of different organs of the body. The tests are:

  • Urine tests
  • Renal ultrasound
  • Echocardiogram
  • Blood tests for blood sugar, cholesterol, blood cell count and kidney function

Treatment of High Blood Pressure in Children

The treatment of high blood pressure is dependent on the readings. If it tends to be moderately high, then usually doctors recommend lifestyle changes to normalize the BP.

High blood pressure is otherwise treated with medicines which are diuretics, ACE inhibitors, alpha blockers, calcium channel blockers and beta blockers.

Lastly, your doctor will also let you know how often you need to schedule medical check-ups.

Lifestyle and diet modifications for controlling high BP in children

Watch on his weight – Simple exercises can shed that extra childhood weight. Get his/her weight checked once in a month

Encourage for outdoor activities- Physical activity is utmost needed for bringing down blood pressure. Instead of staying glued to TV, video games and computer, encourage him/her to play outdoors.

Cut down on salt – Make sure you cut down on fast foods and processed foods which are heaped with salt. Check on the habit of adding extra salt to food while eating

Implement a healthy diet plan- The DASH diet plan is usually recommended by doctors which is nothing but a healthy diet plan for lowering blood pressure. Whole grains, omega-3-rich foods, seeds, fresh fruits and fibrous vegetables must be present in his diet.

What not to eat- Cut down on red meat, pork, sugar rich foods (chocolates, pastries, donuts, etc.), fast foods, soft drinks, refined foods, etc.

Make sure you educate your children about the health hazards and the need to maintain high blood pressure if he/she is old enough to understand. Listen to your doctor’s advice and bless your kid with a healthy childhood.

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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: January 17, 2015