World Hypertension Day is observed on every May 17th to raise awareness and promote hypertension prevention, detection and control. Hypertension or high blood pressure is quite common among adults. Now, even children are affected.
“Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls. High blood pressure (hypertension) means that the pressure inside the arteries is too high. This elevated pressure may harm the arteries. The blood pressure should be ≤ 140/90 mm Hg,” says Rahul Chhabria, Consultant Cardiologist, Jaslok Hospital and Research Center, Mumbai.
He adds, “Tall kids usually have High BP than shorter kids. Obese children are more likely to have High BP and usually have slight amount of High BP as compared to girls. They may have underlying kidney, heart or hormonal problems which can cause hypertension. Also we should evaluate history of illicit drugs like cocaine, etc. Salty foodstuffs, alcohol and drinks with caffeine (such as coffee and soda) can all raise blood pressure.”
Dr Rahul explains that a single high blood pressure reading does not mean that your child has high blood pressure. The child’s healthcare provider will want to check your child’s blood pressure over a period of days or weeks. When the blood pressure continues to remain high, it may indicate a problem.
Children and teens may suffer from high blood pressure if they are boys, overweight, have a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease or have a mother who smoked during pregnancy. Children who are hypertensive can experience health issues in future. They are at high risk of developing problems related to heart, brain, kidneys and eyes.