High blood pressure in children

High blood pressure (hypertension) in children is blood pressure that's the same as or higher than 95 percent of children who are the same sex, age and height as your child. There isn't a simple target blood pressure reading that indicates high blood pressure in all ages for children, because what's considered normal blood pressure changes as children grow.

High blood pressure in children younger than 10 years old is usually caused by another medical condition. High blood pressure in children can also develop for the same reasons it does in adults — being overweight, eating a poor diet and not exercising.

Lifestyle changes, such as eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising more, can help reduce high blood pressure in children. But, for some children, medications may be necessary.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

High blood pressure in children usually doesn't cause symptoms.

When to see a doctor

Unless your child has an underlying health problem, you probably don't need to make a special visit to your child's doctor to have your child's blood pressure checked. However, your child's blood pressure should be checked as part of a routine doctor's appointment, starting when your child is age 3.

If your child has a condition that can increase the risk of high blood pressure — including premature birth, low birth weight, congenital heart disease and certain kidney problems — blood pressure checks may begin during infancy.

If you're concerned about your child having a risk factor for high blood pressure, such as being overweight or obese, talk to your child's doctor. He or she may recommend more frequent blood pressure checks.

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