Young children are increasingly prone to hypertension, but it is also easily treatable by making small changes to one’s lifestyle.
5:01 p.m. IST on November 15, 2022, Longjam Dineshwori’s
Today, high blood pressure, sometimes known as hypertension, is a prevalent disorder. Even young children are affected, in addition to adults. Young children’s hypertension may be a sign of some diagnosable medical disorders. These illnesses are typically brought on by lifestyle choices, including being overweight, eating poorly, or not exercising enough. Such disorders are directly impacted by our food. A childhood eating pattern that is unhealthy might have a serious negative impact on one’s health later in life.
According to Dr. Sudhir U., a consultant neonatologist at Motherhood Hospitals in Electronic City, Bangalore, making certain lifestyle adjustments can help parents prevent much more than simply hypertension in their kids.
Hypertension in children: Causes and risk factors
High blood pressure can arise from a variety of causes. Dr. Sudhir claims that hypertension in young children is frequently linked to other medical conditions like genetic disorders, heart defects, kidney problems, hormonal imbalances, or heart defects. Other contributing factors include living an unhealthy lifestyle, eating an unhealthy diet, being overweight, having high cholesterol, and not exercising enough.
Dr. Sudhir also discusses the root causes of both primary and secondary hypertension.
Primary Hypertension: This particular form of hypertension develops on its own with no apparent underlying reason. Children aged 6 or older are more likely to have this problem. The following are risk factors connected to it:
- Being obese or overweight
- Family history of high blood pressure.
- An imbalanced blood sugar level or Type 2 diabetes.
- Having high levels of cholesterol.
- Having a diet that is excessively salty.
- Additionally, smoking raises the risk of hypertension.
Secondary Hypertension: This type of hypertension is more prevalent in younger children and is brought on by other medical conditions. Among its risk factors are:
- Having polycystic kidney disease or chronic kidney disease
- Heart problems
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Taking specific pharmaceuticals or medications. Decongestants, ADHD medicines, coffee, and related substances fall under this category.
Lifestyle changes to keep your child’s blood pressure in control
Although hypertension is common, it can be readily controlled by making small alterations to one’s lifestyle. According to Dr. Sudhir
Make dietary modifications for your kids: Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy in your kids’ meals to help them maintain a healthy blood pressure level. Pay attention to foods with low fat and cholesterol levels. If kids can eat it, you can also try adding fish, poultry, lean meats, and nuts. They include a lot of fiber and protein. It would be best if you could keep them away from sugary beverages, red meat, processed foods, and sweets.
If your child is overweight, assist them in losing weight: The likelihood that your child may develop hypertension might be influenced by their weight. Assist them in losing weight in a healthy manner. It is advised to maintain a healthy waist circumference because the majority of belly fat might impact blood pressure.
Make sure your child participates in physical activity: You can start with simple exercises like going for regular walks, bike rides, or runs.
Avoid oversalting your child’s diet: Too much sodium might raise a child’s blood pressure. The goal should be to limit the daily intake to 1,500 mg. Don’t add more salt to your child’s request. Make an effort to get your kid to avoid packaged, salty meals.
Keep a regular sleep pattern: Modern kids enjoy staying up late and staring at screens, which is hazardous for their general health. Maintaining the health of their blood vessels and hearts is also crucial.