While high blood pressure is most common among adults, this condition can affect children. High blood pressure in children is becoming more prevalent, and is most likely linked to an increase with childhood obesity. In younger children, the condition may be caused by premature birth or problems with the kidneys or heart.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, places more pressure on the heart and arteries as they pump blood through the body. Blood pressure typically changes from minute to minute, and may be affected by physical activity, body temperature, diet, emotional state and any medications taken. Over time, high blood pressure can cause damage to the heart, brain, kidneys and eyes. It is important to diagnose and treat high blood pressure as early as possible to help minimize these effects.
Treatment for hypertension depends on the cause of the condition. Many cases can be relieved by treating the underlying condition that is causing high blood pressure. Other cases can be relieved through lifestyle changes such as weight loss and eating fruits and vegetables. Medication is not usually prescribed for children with high blood pressure unless lifestyle changes do not help improve the condition. Parents can help their child manage their high blood pressure by helping them practice a healthy and active lifestyle and keeping stress at a minimum.