High Blood Pressure: Is Your Child At Risk?
"High blood pressure in kids? That's what my grandmother has!"
Nearly 2 out of 3 American adults have unhealthy blood pressure. Hypertension, or high blood pressure (HBP), cuts off nearly 5 years from an average person's life. It is more common beyond middle age. Hence, what comes to mind when discussing HBP are adults challenged to maintain a healthy lifestyle: regular exercise, a healthy diet, and weight control, simple routines that help prevent HBP.
However, HBP can start rather early. Although it is difficult to imagine, children and adolescents are also at risk of HBP, and HBP at a young age may be a precursor to hypertension in adults. As stated in a recent study involving a group of children and adolescents aged 3 to 18 years (Falkner B., 2010, "Hypertension in children and adolescents: Epidemiology and natural history," Pediatr. Nephrol. 25(7): 1219- 1224, Epub 2009 May 7), HBP in children and adolescents exceeds 3%, or nearly 1 in every 30 children.