Hypertension in children and adolescents is a growing health problem in urban centres. (Representational image)
Vijayawada: Children with a family history of hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, prematurely born or low birth weight, not breast fed, children with congenital anomalies and overweight children are at risk of getting hypertension.
Inclusion of fresh fruits and vegetables, fiber rich and non-fat dairy products in the diet and reducing sodium intake will be helpful in controlling paediatric hypertension.
Hypertension in children and adolescents is a growing health problem in urban centres. High blood pressure in children which has been overlooked in the past is now sending warning signals as more number of children are getting affected with this long-term health condition.
According to a study conducted globally, around 4 per cent of the children are affected by high blood pressure and India stands at 3.9 per cent which is not far behind. The study which was conducted mostly in urban areas revealed that a combination of various causes identified which are triggering paediatric hypertension that includes lifestyle changes, junk food, obesity and heredity.
Health-related and lifestyle behavior like taking processed foods, lack of physical activity resulting in childhood obesity have increased the rate of hypertension among the children. Renal parenchymal disease and renovascular disease are also found to be the most common causes of hypertension in children, said Dr M.N. Sudheer Kumar, a paediatric nephrologist.
Children with hypertension are also at risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and hyperlipidemia which potentially results in organ damage.
Those children diagnosed with hypertension should also be examined for the additional risks involved said Dr. Sudheer.
Hypertension in children can be treated initially with lifestyle changes that include weight loss for those who are overweight or obese. A healthy diet and regular physical activity also help in keeping the high blood pressure under control.
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet significantly lowers blood pressure in adolescents. Children with symptomatic hypertension, secondary hypertension, target organ damage, diabetes, or persistent hypertension should be treated with antihypertensive medications when nonpharmacologic measures doesn’t work said Dr. Sudheer. Pediatricians can play an important role in reducing the associated long-term cardiovascular morbidity and mortality through the early identification, evaluation, and treatment of this common disorder he added.