Treating high blood pressure in children explains how high blood pressure (hypertension) is threatening the health of children and teenagers. And what you can do about it.
Unhealthy snacks, sugar-laden sodas, and many hours playing video games may contribute to high blood pressure. This condition is now striking more children, risking their potential for a healthy future.
Blood pressure in children is categorised into four groups: normal, prehypertension, stage 1 hypertension, or Stage 2 hypertension. Similarly, the condition in children varies based on sex, age, and height. This is to prevent children from being miscategorised if they are very tall or very short.
The question then is why are children developing this ‘adult’ condition? The simple reason is the link between fatness and blood pressure. In other words, if children are obese, high blood pressure also follows. It’s a trend that should be worrying. This is because high blood pressure can cause stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease in children. This article explains how treating high blood pressure in children can be achieved with your help as the parent.
Get Your Children Blood Pressure Checked
All children age 3 and older should get their blood pressure checked during routine medical visits. Likewise, they should get their blood pressure checked during treatment for any acute illness. And let’s say your child has pneumonia, the blood pressure should be checked at least once.
If your child’s blood pressure is normal at one visit, you should get it rechecked at the next appointed visit. On the other hand, when the blood pressure is slightly elevated, there should be a recheck within six months. Or when high, to confirm your child has high blood pressure, do more checks at least on two separate occasions.
Stop The Increasing Obesity
Some children have an identifiable medical cause of their high blood pressure. Which is often related to poor kidney function or abnormal blood flow to a kidney. However, in cases where there is no known cause for many children, it’s called primary hypertension. The most common risk factors linked to primary hypertension are poor diet and lack of exercise. Therefore, to treat or prevent primary hypertension in children, obesity in children must be controlled.
Change Risk Factors For High Blood Pressure
There are risk factors you can change to reduce or prevent high blood pressure. For example, when your child is overweight or obese, he or she can try to lose weight through diet and exercise. In addition, while you may not see 6-year-olds smoking or drinking, you may see it in adolescents. The reality is that secondhand smoke is a risk for high blood pressure no matter the age.
Other risk factors are muscle-building steroids in athletic children and excessive dietary sodium. Also, genetics plays a role, but not a risk you can change.
On the whole, the positive news is that children who exercise and eat a healthier diet are less likely to develop high blood pressure. Even if they are genetically prone to hypertension. So it’s in the primary hypertensive stage that weight, diet, and exercise become important since you can stop it from becoming severe.
Watch Out For Breathing Problems
Equally, you can watch for breathing problems in your children while they are sleeping. There is no question that overweight children who have sleep-disordered breathing, such as sleep apnea, have problems with hypertension. In view of this, routine screening for sleep-related breathing problems is recommended. You can do this routine screening in about five minutes in the doctor’s office.
Be Alert To Weight Gain, Diet and Exercise
Positive therapeutic healthy lifestyle changes are important, as in a healthy diet and exercise. For instance, encourage your children to limit time spent on sit-down activities to two hours a day. Like adults, children should get 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Alongside increased intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, a healthy breakfast, and low consumption of sugary snacks and drinks.
Use Medication To Treat High Blood Pressure
Some children are likely to need medications to treat their blood pressure. This is in situations where healthy life changes alone are ineffective. Or perhaps when the hypertension is more severe, such as stage 2 hypertension.
Other children may also require medications if they have certain other health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, or kidney disease. Or other hypertensive-induced health problems. Then again, if your children’s high blood pressure is due solely to obesity. And it’s possible to reduce that weight, they can come off the medications at some point.
Whereas most children tolerate antihypertensive medications, this is not the case with teenagers. In teenagers, the issue is more with compliance. That is, starting and stopping the medication erratically. Consequently, such defiance may be far greater than the risk of taking the medication consistently long-term.
Lastly, it’s crucial to change your feelings about treating high blood pressure in children. In other words, you need to be more aware that high blood pressure is a serious threat to children’s health. Luckily most children don’t have heart attacks at the age of 18. Nonetheless, there is the risk of laying down the foundation of health problems that can kill them in their 50s.
On a final note, treating high blood pressure in children is not as difficult as you think. So, start protecting your children’s health now!