Parents, Be Aware Of The Factors That Can Lead To Hypertension In Children
Hypertension or high blood pressure has become a common condition today. Not only adults, but even young children are suffering from it. Hypertension in young children can be an indication of some identifiable medical conditions. Such conditions are generally caused by lifestyle factors like excess weight, poor nutrition, or lack of exercise. Our diet has a direct impact on such conditions. Unhealthy eating habit in childhood can cause a lot of health complications later in life.
Dr. Sudhir. U. Consultant Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospitals, Electronic City, Bangalore, want parents to know that certain lifestyle changes can help their children avoid much more than just hypertension.
Hypertension in children: Causes and risk factors
A lot of factors can contribute to developing high blood pressure. According to Dr. Sudhir, hypertension in younger children is often related to other health conditions like heart defects, kidney complications, hormonal disorders, or genetic conditions. Other factors include having an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, being overweight, high cholesterol levels or lack of physical activities.
Further, Dr. Sudhir sheds light on the causes of primary hypertension and secondary hypertension.
Primary Hypertension: This is a type of hypertension which occurs on its own without showing any identifiable cause. This condition is more common among children of age 6 years or older. The risk factors associated with it include:
Make changes in your children’s diet: Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy in your child’s diet to keep their blood pressure in control. Focus on food items that don’t have much fat or cholesterol content. You can also try adding lean meats, poultry, fish, and nuts if they can eat it. They are high in protein and fiber. Keep them away from drinks loaded with sugar content, red meats, processed food and sweets would be beneficial as far as possible.
If your child is overweight, help him/her lose some weight: Your child’s weight can affect their chances of having hypertension. Help them lose some extra weight in a healthy manner. It is recommended to keep waist fat in check as the bulk fat in the midsection can affect blood pressure.
Make sure your little one indulges in physical activities: It does not have to be much at the start, you can start with regular walks, cycling or running also.
Do not give them too much salty food: Too much sodium can negatively affect your child’s blood pressure. The aim should be to consume not more than 1,500 milligrams a day. Avoid sprinkling extra salt on your child’s demand. Try to make your child avoid salty packaged food.
Maintain a healthy sleep schedule: Children nowadays like to stay up all night staring at their screens which is bad for their overall health. It is also essential to keep their heart and blood vessels healthy. Children require more sleep in their growing age. Make sure they get the appropriate amount of sleep.