Although hypertension (also referred to as high blood pressure) is most common among adults, parents should be aware that children and adolescents are not spared from this condition. In fact, cases of pediatric hypertension are on the rise each day, so, as parents, you need to have your children’s blood pressure checked, pay attention to possible underlying causes of high blood pressure, and learn about the most effective treatment.
I am seeing a lot of High School children having hypertension or high normal blood pressure. I have seen almost 30 to 35 children in the past 6 months and was surprised to see Blood pressure of 8th std child 180/100 mmm of Hg.
There are some alarming facts.
Most common history was the mobile addiction and sleep deprivation. Students used to sleep at 3 am and get up at 8 am. They had repeated habits of checking alerts and messages late at night.
This is the worst epidemic we are facing. Mood changes and rage due to social media posts, videos, games etc plus sleep deprivation is disturbing their biological clock and hormonal balance. In addition, the high salt content of packaged food and junk food is adding to this chaos. Reduced physical activity and childhood obesity are the other important factors.
Having Hypertension at this small age is serious, it can lead to early heart, kidney and eye problems.
Signs and Symptoms:
Children with hypertension don’t usually show signs or experience symptoms, but there are instances when your child might feel Dizzy, experience headaches and start vomiting. Other children may feel fatigued and have mood swings.
Management and Treatment
For starters, you need to assist and motivate your child in making lifestyle changes. This may mean that you will have to follow the changes as well. Regular exercise and ahealthy, balanced diet should always be in place. Weight loss is also important for children and adolescents who are overweight.
Help your child control high blood pressure by following the doctor’s plan carefully.
Limit the amount of time your child spends using the mobile and watching TV.
Make changes to diet and exercise a family affair. Make sure your child has his or her blood pressure checked as often as recommended by your child’s doctor.
Reduce salt intake
More fruits and vegetables
Limit screen time
More play time indoors and outdoors
Person to person interaction
More family time
So parents beware before you give electronic gadgets to your child
Encourage physical activity and healthy food habits
About the Author: Dr. Sameer Suresh Ambar MD,DM,FACC is a Belagavi based Interventional Cardiologist practicing since 2007 and attached to JNMC as an Associate Professor of Cardiology & Interventional Cardiologist at KLE’s Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital and Medical Research Centre. He also consults at Sparsh Superspeciality Clinic.