Kids and Hypertension

By: Sarah Goebel Email
By: Sarah Goebel Email

High blood pressure among kids is a growing problem that often times is going undiagnosed.

Researchers say more than a million children in the U.S. may have undiagnosed high blood pressure or hypertension.

Doctors say this problem is partly a result of the obesity epidemic among children.

It's usually considered an "adult" problem. That's because hypertension is hard to detect among kids.

But that doesn't mean it's not happening.

"A busy primary care practice may see a child's blood pressure that is not hypertensive for adults," said Dr. Sobczyk, a pediatric cardiologist.

So, most doctors won't think anything of it unless the child has other health issues such as obesity.

But Dr. Sobczyk says kids with undiagnosed hypertension can have serious health problems later in life.

"Heart disease, stroke, increased headaches, kidney problems and eye-problems--all those things are possible," explained Sobczyk.

Though obese children are prone to high blood pressure, it's usually the kids that don't have health problems who go untreated.

Sobczyk said a person's diet has a lot to do with it.

"High salt and fatty foods can promote hypertension among adults and it's certainly having its effects on children," he added.

Sobczyk said hypertension should be a concern of all parents and the only way for it to be detected is to know your child's blood pressure.

If you would like to see if your child's blood pressure is too high, click here.

For more information on blood pressure for children and adolescents, click here.


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