High blood pressure is a serious condition not limited to adults, as hypertension in children has also become an issue. In a report presented to the National High Blood Pressure Education Committee (NHBPEC), it was demonstrated that the prevalence of hypertension in children is approximately 3%. This means that in an average sized classroom of 30 children, one of them has high blood pressure.
Because obesity is on the rise, hypertension is also becoming increasingly common in young children. The NHBPEC report showed a strong correlation between weight and hypertension in children, in particular that obesity triples the risk for hypertension in children.
This root cause of obesity relates only to primary, or essential, hypertension in children. A study published in the American Family Physician journal found that secondary hypertension in children is far more common than essential hypertension. Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure as a result of another underlying condition or disease.
Researchers also found that renal parenchymal disease is the most common cause of hypertension in children, being responsible for 60 to 70 percent of all cases. Secondary hypertension is most common in children and is rarely found in adults.
There are a few treatment or prevention components for hypertension in children. The first is to put the child on a healthy diet. Healthy eating and focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole-wheat foods and limiting sodium have all been shown to have a positive impact and reduce hypertension in children.
The second important action to take is to control the child's weight. Overweight children are at greater risk for hypertension. Children with hypertension should try to lose some of their excess weight to improve their condition. Also, healthy children should also try to control their weight to prevent the development of this condition.
Increased physical activity is effective in managing children's weight, and is also an effective preventative measure and treatment for hypertension in its own right. Children need between 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity a day. Hypertension in children is best prevented through a combination of regular exercise, managed weight and healthy eating.
Hypertension in children may also be treated through medication. The hypertension medication used is usually the same types that are used for hypertension in adults. Medication may be postponed in lieu of the above treatments like exercise for children with lesser cases of hypertension, but more serious hypertension in children may be treated with medication.