It’s more common than you think
Monkey-Business-Images/Shutterstock Why adults get it is fairly clear—here are the causes of high blood pressure. But the number of kids who now struggle with the problem is alarming: A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that 3.5 percent of all kids and teens have abnormally high blood pressure—though many of those remain undiagnosed. “There has been an increase in the prevalence of childhood high blood pressure, including both hypertension and elevated blood pressure,” according to the report.
Risk factors to watch for
Billion Photos/Shutterstock Overweight or obese kids are far more likely to develop high blood pressure—the risk is up to four times higher for the severely obese. Boys are also more likely to be diagnosed than girls, and rates are elevated in Hispanic and African-American children compared to white children. “Hypertension rates are higher in children with certain chronic conditions, including children with obesity, sleep-disordered breathing, chronic kidney disease, and those born preterm,” according to the report. If your child has any of these risk factors, you may want to talk to your pediatrician about steps you can take now to reduce your child’s chances of developing high blood pressure.