Be Aware of Your Child's / Kids High BP
Every person needs blood pressure to live. Without it, blood wouldn't be able to circulate through the body to carry oxygen and fuel vital organs.Blood pressure is the pressure your blood exerts against your blood vessel walls as your heart pumps. Blood pressure rises with each heartbeat and falls when the heart relaxes between beats, but there is always a certain amount of pressure in the arteries.
Blood pressure changes from minute to minute and is affected not only by activity and rest, but also by temperature, diet, emotional state, posture, and medications.Because of the way blood pressure readings are calculated for children and teens, readings that doctors consider high in teens can be lower than the blood pressure readings that are considered high in adults.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a condition most often associated with adults. But kids can have high blood pressure too, even as infants.Teens with blood pressure readings that are greater than 90% of the expected range are three times more likely than those with average readings to develop high blood pressure as adults.An estimated 4.5% of kids have high blood pressure. With approximately 750,000 children nationwide afflicted with high blood pressure, and less than a third of those children diagnosed with the condition, increasing our knowledge and understanding of pediatric hypertension is more important than ever.
Studies have demonstrated early evidence of arteriosclerosis and left ventricular hypertrophy even in children, leading researchers to believe that high blood pressure can affect individuals of all ages. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends making blood pressure screening a routine part of pediatric care.
While the condition is far more common among adults. If your child has high blood pressure, healthy lifestyle changes may be the key to better health. And the earlier your child adopts healthier habits, the more likely the habits will take hold — and prevent future chronic health problems. In some cases, medication to control blood pressure is needed as well.
High blood pressure in younger children is often related to secondary or reversible factors such as heart or kidney disease or adrenal gland disorders. In older children — especially those who are overweight — the precise cause of high blood pressure is often unknown.Those born with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) may be at increased risk for high blood pressure.
Even though young children may not show physical symptoms of having high blood pressure, the condition puts them at a higher risk in adulthood for stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, loss of vision, and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). If your child has high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend weight loss, increased intake of fruits and vegetables, decreased salt intake, increased exercise, and even relaxation techniques. Kids with hypertension should not smoke, as smoking can increase the risk of developing heart disease.
High blood pressure usually occurs when arteries narrow and make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the body. The condition increases a person's risk of cardiovascular disease.
While it's most common in adults, the Texas Heart Institute says children also can develop high blood pressure -- especially if family members have the condition. Most of the time, high blood pressure in children is triggered by another condition, such as heart or kidney disease.
If your child does have high blood pressure, the institute says he should get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy body weight. He should also be on a diet low in salt, fat and sugar, and avoid smoking.
A growing number of kids, poor lifestyle habits — such as an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise — contribute to high blood pressure. High blood pressure in children has become a natural extension of the nationwide obesity epidemic.For healthy children, blood pressure should be checked during routine medical visits beginning at age 3.
Blood pressure should also be checked at least once during a course of treatment for any acute illness. If your child has pneumonia, for example, and has two or three visits to the doctor, his or her blood pressure should be checked at least once.If your child has a condition known to increase the risk of high blood pressure — including prematurity, low birth weight, congenital heart disease, and certain urinary or kidney problems — blood pressure checks may begin during infancy.