By| Published: May 17th, 2017
Hypertension has always been considered as a disorder for adults. Little did anyone know that with the changing lifestyles, it could affect children! In fact, Hypertension as of today, affects almost all age groups.
What is Hypertension in Children and Adolescents?
Most commonly known as High Blood Pressure, Hypertension is a condition in the human body where long-term force of blood against the walls of arteries result in ailments that can affect heart, kidney and other body parts.
The Systolic Pressure – which helps us know the amount of blood heart pumps, along with Diastolic Pressure – which helps us know the amount of resistance to the blood flows in arteries, determines the blood pressure in an individual.
However, in children Hypertension is defined as an average of systolic and diastolic blood pressure level that is in 95th percentile or more, based on a minimum of three separate readings.
There are two stages of hypertension in children:
Stage 1 Hypertension has readings between 95th and less than 99th percentile plus 5 mm Hg
Stage 2 Hypertension has readings between 90th and less than 95th percentile plus 5 mm Hg.
Various factors in children such as age, sex and height influence normal blood pressure values in children.
Primary Hypertension in children leads to cardiovascular diseases such as hyperlipidaemia, diabetes mellitus, coarctation of the aorta and Cushing syndrome. Overweight and obesity can lead to Primary Hypertension in children, with additional risk factors such as maternal smoking during pregnancy.
In most cases, hypertension during childhood leads to Secondary Hypertension in adulthood with underlying causes such as renal parenchymal and renovascular diseases.
Look for these:
Hypertension signs and symptoms in neonates could include:
- Irritability or lethargy
- Respiratory distress
- Congestive heart failure
Hypertension signs and symptoms in older children could include:
- Blurred vision
- Bell’s palsy (paralysis or muscle weakness on one side of face)
You Can Monitor:
It is very important to monitor Hypertension in children and adolescents to avoid complications in future. Below are few ways one can monitor:
- Periodic monitoring for target organ damage and development of other cardiovascular disease risk factors.
- Regular diet and weight monitoring
- Children with previous hypertension history should always be monitored, especially those participating in competitive sports.
You Can Maintain:
Hypertension in children and adolescents can be controlled and maintained under doctor’s supervision.
- Overweight and obesity can increase the chances of Hypertension. A nutritionist recommended diet should be followed.
- Children should stay away from aerated drinks and junk food.
- Parents should abstain from giving them canned or processed food that is loaded with sodium and MSG.
- Foods rich in fibre should be given.
- Blood pressure should be checked regularly.
- Limiting TV time and involving them in doctor-approved physical activities.
Hypertension can be treated, monitored and managed in children and adolescents when parents work with healthcare specialists to develop a comprehensive health plan that helps control any possible complications, because famous social reformer Frederick Douglass once said, “It is easier to build up a child than it is to repair broken men”.