High blood pressure isn’t really something that most people associate with children. However, the fact is that children are just as susceptible to this problem as adults. It’s important that, as moms and dads, we know 1) the causes of HBP in kids, 2) how to prevent this condition and 3) signs of complications that could arise from HBP.
One of the greatest risk factors for children is obesity. This could be due to a poor diet and excess consumption of food or lack of exercise. No matter the cause, though, this greatly increases a child’s chances of developing high blood pressure. Therefore, it’s appropriate to encourage a healthy diet and regular exercise to reverse obesity and, even better, to prevent it.
Other risk factors include exposure to tobacco smoke, sleep-related issues like sleep apnea and other medical problems. This means that you should limit your child’s exposure to even secondhand smoke, which can cause blood pressure to soar. Additionally, regular visits to the doctor will reveal problems that could put your child at risk. His or her doctor should then be able to advise you on what steps to take.
HBP or hypertension causes blood to push too hard on the blood vessels. This can damage the vessels themselves, along with the heart and other organs. Surely you wouldn’t want that!
In addition, hypertension can lead to pediatric stroke. Stroke isn’t something normally associated with children either, but it is a very real possibility. And a serious complication to boot! In fact, it is one of the top ten causes of death in kids.
However, that doesn’t always have to be the outcome. Knowing the signs could make all the difference. Since the month of May is Pediatric Stroke Awareness Month, why not take a few moments to get informed?
Some common symptoms of stroke in children include:
- Rhythmic twitching of the face, an arm or leg
- Pauses in breathing coupled with staring
- Decreased movement or weakness on one side of the body
- Favoring one hand or foot over the other
These are just a few of the signs that you should watch out for, keeping in mind that even newborns and toddlers can suffer strokes. The earlier symptoms are checked out by a doctor, the better. Your child can then receive whatever treatment is appropriate.
If you, as a parent, are committed to combating high blood pressure, you will likely decrease your child’s risk of suffering stroke as well. In addition to encouraging physical activities, healthy eating and providing a healthy environment, don’t neglect the doctor. Schedule regular check-ups for your child to make sure that everything is alright.
In between doctor’s visits, though, it’s up to you to know when something isn’t quite right. Keep in mind the above information and you’ll be able to act in time!