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Does your child have high blood pressure?

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Children with high blood pressure

(WPTZ) Hypertension or high blood pressure though rare in children can still occur in 3% of children who otherwise appear healthy.   That is why the American Heart Association recommends that all children age 3 and older have a yearly measurement of their blood pressure which will increase with age.  Your child’s doctor will have a table based on your child’s age, sex, and height that will determine if the value measured is too high.  Three high measurements taken at three separate visits confirms the diagnosis of hypertension.

How might you suspect hypertension—it’s difficult but a young child may be irritable, fail to gain weight, or feed poorly as the only signs if any do exist. As it persists, it may result in headache, vomiting, and palpitations of the heart.  If severe, it can cause seizures, heart failure, and kidney failure and of course stroke and heart disease in adults.

How might you suspect hypertension—it’s difficult but a young child may be irritable, fail to gain weight, or feed poorly as the only signs if any do exist. As it persists, it may result in headache, vomiting, and palpitations of the heart.  If severe, it can cause seizures, heart failure, and kidney failure and of course stroke and heart disease in adults.

In younger children, high blood pressure may be largely due to kidney disease and less likely heart disease.  There may also be no underlying cause except perhaps a child being overweight. It can also run in families.

What is important to know is that the earlier it is detected, the less the complications.

Once detected, the first line of treatment involves a heart-healthy diet to encourage some weight loss (low fat dairy products, low salt, high fiber, high potassium, calcium and magnesium, and exercise, although if severe, medications can be used.

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