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Love Your Heart

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a common condition in adults, but what you might not know is that it can occur in children too. It can cause the same health problems as it can cause in adults, and it is a significant risk factor for heart disease.

What causes high blood pressure in children?

  • Other diseases, such as heart or kidney disease
  • Some medications
  • Obesity/being overweight
  • Heredity. Some children can inherit the tendency toward high blood pressure from their parents.

Children can benefit from the same treatment and prevention techniques as adults:

  • A healthy diet
  • Regular physical activity
  • Medication
  • Weight loss
  • Not smoking or quitting smoking

Why is high blood pressure a risk factor for heart disease?

  • It increases the risk of coronary artery disease, or atherosclerosis
  • It increases the heart's workload, which leads to thicker, stiffer heart muscles

High blood pressure alone is a health issue to be concerned about, but taken into account with other risk factors like smoking or obesity, the risk of heart attack increases significantly.

The American Heart Association recommends having your child's blood pressure checked on an annual basis starting at age 3. Your pediatrician will take into account your child's gender, age and height in determining whether his or her blood pressure is at a normal level.