High Blood Pressure In Teens – Causes & Symptoms
Created by Faraz Mohammad Khan Updated on May 29, 2018
Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls. We all need blood pressure to live. Without it, blood can't flow through our bodies and carry oxygen to our vital organs. But when blood pressure gets too high — a condition called hypertension — it can lead to serious medical problems. Hypertension is more of an adult problem but it's apprearing increasingly in teens too. The good news is hypertension is treatable.
How Does High Blood Pressure Work
High blood pressure (hypertension) means that the pressure inside the arteries is too high. This higher pressure may harm the arteries and cause the heart to work harder. Many things affect blood pressure. These include:
- Time of day
- Physical activity
- Age, height, weight, and gender
- Illness or medicines
One high blood pressure reading does not mean that your child has high blood pressure. Your child's healthcare provider will want to check your child's blood pressure over a period of days or weeks. When blood pressure stays high, it may be a problem.
Causes Of Teenage High Blood Pressure
Hypertension can be primary. This means the cause isn't known. Or it may be secondary. This means it happens with illness or certain lifestyle choices.
Secondary causes of high blood pressure in children and teens include:
- Kidney disease and heart disease
- Being obese
- Lack of exercise
- Too much salt in the diet
- Using alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs
- Some medicines (like steroids or birth control pills)
- Premature birth or low birth weight
What Are The Signs Of High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure can be present for years and not have any signs. That is why it's mostly discovered during routine doctored visits/tests. In rare cases, severe high blood pressure can cause problems like these:
- Vision changes
- Nausea (feeling sick)
How Is High Blood Pressure Treated
Very few teens need medicines to control high blood pressure. Most teens can manage hypertension by making changes in their lives. For example:
- Losing weight
- Eating healthier foods
- Getting more exercise
- Avoiding tobacco and alcohol
In some cases, teens with severe hypertension may need to be careful about the kinds of exercise they do. Some will have to avoid things like weightlifting and bodybuilding until their blood pressure is back to normal.
Because teenagers with hypertension tend to suffer more cardiovascular events later in life, early intervention is key to lowering the blood pressure and sustaining long-term control. Below are the key things your teen should keep in mind
- Keep a healthy weight
- Eat a healthy diet
- Be active every day
- Stay away from smoking
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