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High Blood Pressure in Children
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
High blood pressure is also called hypertension. Blood pressure (BP) is the force of blood moving against the walls of your child's arteries. The normal BP range for your child depends on his age, height, and sex. High blood pressure causes your child's heart to work harder than normal. Over time, high BP can cause health problems such as kidney, heart, and eye disease.
Seek care immediately if:
- Your child has a seizure.
- Your child has a severe headache or vision loss.
- Your child is confused or dizzy.
- Your child has a fast, forceful, uneven heartbeat.
Contact your child's healthcare provider if:
- Your child has nausea and vomiting.
- Your child has frequent nosebleeds.
- Your child develops new symptoms.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Your child's blood pressure will need to be checked regularly. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Manage your child's high BP:
Your child will need to do the following to help lower his BP:
- Lose weight. Work with your child's healthcare provider to help your child reach a healthy weight safely.
- Exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Your child should get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Examples include jogging or riding a bicycle. He should get more intense activity such as running or soccer on 3 days each week. Screen time should be limited to less than 2 hours each day. Examples of screen time include watching television and playing video or computer games.
- Eat less sodium (salt). Do not add salt to your child's food. Limit foods that are high in sodium, such as canned foods, potato chips, and cold cuts. Your child's healthcare provider may suggest that he follow the DASH Eating Plan. This eating plan is low in sodium, unhealthy fats, and total fat. It is high in potassium, calcium, and fiber. Your child can get these nutrients by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. Ask the healthcare provider or dietitian which meal plan your child should follow.
- Do not smoke. Nicotine can damage your child's blood vessels and make it more difficult to manage his BP. Your child should not use e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco in place of cigarettes or to help him quit. They still contain nicotine. Ask the healthcare provider for information if your child currently smokes and needs help quitting.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.