High blood pressure, or hypertension, was long thought to be an adult problem, with the incidence increasing among older age groups. However, with an increasing number of children now suffering from hypertension a great deal of importance is being paid to this issue â€“ some studies indicate that up to 6% of teenagers and 1% of children below the age of 12 suffer from this problem. Identifying the causes of hypertension in children has become a priority health matter. The definition of hypertension in children is defined as having blood pressure that is higher than 95% of the children of the same age group, race and gender.
It is a well know fact that Americans, as a nation, are becoming increasingly overweight. What is often overlooked is that this problem is not limited to only adults. A startling 33% of children in this country are thought to be overweight to some extent. And this is the primary cause of hypertension in children. The connection between obesity and hypertension is still being researched, but the fact that it is a cause of hypertension in children as well as being one of the main causes of hypertension in adults is an established fact. And this is the one factor that can be easily controlled without the need for any medical intervention. If children are encouraged to spend more time outdoors, their natural energy will cause them to indulge in physical activity that will burn up the extra calories. That will go a long way in removing one of the main causes of hypertension in children.
But obesity is not always caused by lack of exercise. A reason for obesity and the consequent cause of hypertension in children can be genetic. If the parents have weight issues or problems like diabetes, the children should be checked for genetic or glandular problems that have caused this condition and which can be treated by medication.
Another reason for obesity and a major cause of hypertension in children is bad food habits. Children are drawn towards junk food and bad eating habits. Besides a natural predisposition towards fast food, the places that serve this kind of food are usually the popular hangouts for teenagers and once in the premises, their consumption of this unhealthy food tends to rise dramatically.
There are many medical conditions that are not easy to spot which can also be causes of hypertension in children. These include sleep apnea, even in mild forms, lupus, glandular disorders, kidney problems and even psychological issues that can cause a child to overeat. If a child is found to be suffering from hypertension, it is best to consult a doctor, even if obesity seems to be the obvious cause. There could be underlying factors that are causes of hypertension in children that may require treatment along with the removal of the obesity problem.