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Hypertension in Adolescents

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension is high blood pressure (BP). BP is the force of the blood moving against the walls of the arteries. Hypertension causes your teen's heart to work much harder than normal. This can damage his or her heart. High BP in adolescence increases your teen's risk for hypertension and cardiovascular disease as an adult. A controlled BP helps protect your teen's organs, such as his or her heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys.

What causes or increases my teen's risk for hypertension?

The cause of your teen's hypertension may not be known. Any of the following can increase his or her risk:

What are the signs and symptoms of hypertension?

Your teen may have no signs or symptoms, or any of the following:

What are the stages of hypertension?

Your child's healthcare provider will give him or her a BP goal based on age, health, and risk for cardiovascular disease. When your teen is 13, his or her BP will start being recorded as one of the following stages:

Blood Pressure Readings

How is hypertension in adolescents diagnosed?

Your teen's healthcare provider will check his or her BP at several visits. Your teen may also need to check his or her BP at home. The provider will examine your teen and ask about medicines he or she takes. The provider will also ask if your teen has a family history of high BP and about any health conditions he or she has. Your teen's weight, heart, lungs, and eyes will be checked. Your teen may need any of the following tests:

How is hypertension in adolescents treated?

The cause of the high BP may need to be treated. If no cause is found, treatment usually starts with lifestyle changes. Your teen may also need medicine if lifestyle changes alone are not enough. Your teen's healthcare provider may recommend any of the following, based on your teen's needs:

Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

What can I do to help manage my teen's hypertension?

Your teen may be taught how to take his or her own BP. He or she may need to continue taking BP readings as an adult.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my teen's doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.