High Blood Pressure in Children Increasing

The incidence of high blood pressure in children is increasing, probably because of the increased incidence of obesity. Unlike high blood pressure in adults, doctors can almost always find the cause of hypertension in a child. It may be kidney disease, blocked blood vessels, hormone abnormalities, pinching of the main blood vessels, or obesity. Many children with untreated high blood pressure have evidence of heart damage called left ventricular hypertrophy.

Whatever the cause, your child must learn how to control weight by exercising more and taking in fewer calories by limiting foods made with refined carbohydrates, saturated fats or partially hydrogenated oils. He or she will certainly need medication, at least until blood pressure is reduced or a cause is found. The drugs with the fewest side effects are ACE-inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers.

Children need at least 90 minutes of exercise a day to avoid heart disease when they are older. The old guidelines recommending 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, or even an hour a day do not appear to be adequate for preventing obesity and heart disease.
Journal reference for this article; more on children and exercise to prevent obesity.


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