A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Ask the expert: High blood pressure and children

Parents and children walking their bikesIs high blood pressure in children concerning?

Absolutely! We’re seeing a substantial increase in the incidence of hypertension, or high blood pressure, in children.

Short-term, we know hypertension in children reduces their ability to concentrate in school, affecting their test scores.

Over time, high blood pressure puts them at risk for deadly complications such as stroke, heart attack and kidney damage.

Lifestyle can affect blood pressure

More children are developing hypertension because too many parents are letting their own unhealthy lifestyles become ingrained in their children.

Instead, we need to get our children out for walks and encourage them to run around, ride a bike, play basketball or do other physical activities.

For treats, offer an orange or banana instead of a candy bar or chips.

Serve water instead of soda or juice filled with caffeine, sugar and sodium, and take the time to prepare nutritious meals lower in fat and sodium than prepackaged food.

These kinds of lifestyle changes may not be easy at first, but they’ll pay dividends for you—and your children.

If you’re concerned your child has high blood pressure, see your child’s pediatrician.

 *This post submitted by Dr. Robert Haws. 

Dr. Haws is a pediatric nephrologist seeing children ages newborn to young adult. He treats acute and chronic kidney problems, high blood pressure, urinary tract infections, renal cystic diseases and inherited disorders. Pediatric nephrology services are provided at Marshfield Clinic locations in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Minocqua, Wausau, Weston and Wisconsin Rapids.

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