Despite popular belief, teens, children and even babies can have high blood pressure, also called hypertension. It’s not just a disease for the middle-aged and elderly. As with adults, early diagnosis and treatment can reduce or prevent the harmful consequences of this disease.
The American Heart Association recommends that all children have yearly blood pressure measurements. Detecting high blood pressure early will improve a child’s health.
What is considered “normal” blood pressure in children?
When it comes to blood pressure in children, “normal” is relative. It depends on three factors:
Your child’s doctor can tell you what’s right for your child, because “normal” is a complicated calculation based on these factors.
What leads to HBP in children?
Diseases including heart and kidney disease
Certain diseases can cause high blood pressure in children as well as adults. As with all types of secondary hypertension, once the underlying problem is fixed, blood pressure usually returns to normal.
Certain medicines can cause high blood pressure, but when they’re discontinued, blood pressure usually returns to normal. This is another example of secondary hypertension.
In a lot of cases, doctors cannot determine the direct cause of HBP in the child. This type of HBP is known as primary or “essential” hypertension. Even though the exact cause is not diagnosed, doctors realize a variety of factors can contribute to the disease, including:
Excess weight or obesity
Race, particularly African-Americans are at increased risk