High Blood Pressure in Children

Diabetes is not the only “adult” disease on the rise in children and adolescents. High blood pressure has become more common as well, largely because of increased obesity in the young, although often an underlying – and treatable — disorder is the cause.

Experts say that neither parents nor their children’s doctors are sufficiently aware of this health problem and its potentially serious consequences, including lasting organ damage. Too often, these experts say, abnormally high blood pressure in children goes undetected or is noted but not taken seriously.

National guidelines state that blood pressure should be measured every year in children, starting at age 3. In general, blood pressures in children should be lower than in adults. In adolescents, for example, a blood pressure of 120 over 80 millimeters of mercury is considered to be pre-hypertension, a condition that sets the stage for full-blown hypertension.

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