High Blood Pressure in Teenagers
What You Need to Know
Parents and young people! Do you deny that high blood pressure in teenagers can develop? I have asked some of the teenagers I know and the main answer they gave was that it only happens to old people, and when they say old they mean people of 40+.
The great thing about most teenagers is that they are always willing to accept some responsibility for their lives. It`s their way of showing you that they are becoming capable adults. So a little education is going to make a big difference.
It has been revealed that from 1989 to 2002 in the US, teens found with elevated blood pressure had increased from 1% to 5%. Why is it on the rise? What are the reasons for high blood pressure in teenagers? Mostly because of lifestyle changes. Young people are exercising less and taking up more sedentary pursuits. They are meeting with their friends to listen rather than dance to the latest sounds, play computer games and surf the net. Their leisure time is focusing less and less on sport activities.
It may interest you to know that research carried out at The Children`s Hospital of Philadelphia connected the watching of TV to higher blood pressure in adolescents. The researchers reported that they discovered sedentary activities and a higher body mass were associated with higher systolic blood pressure amongst 4.500 American adolescents.
The blame doesn`t just lie with the choice of activities. Teenagers are more prone to junk food than adults. This type of food lacks in nutrients, usually has too much salt, and is washed down by gallons of Coke and Pepsi drinks. That type of diet has it`s toll. The pH balance of the body is tipped over to acidic, causing inflammation in the veins and arteries.
Water is drank to a minimum so less toxins are flushed out of the system and the results can mean dehydration. This in turn can raise the bodies blood pressure defense system. See my page on the importance of drinking water based on a doctor`s lifelong research.
An overweight problem is the main cause of high blood pressure in teenagers. Teenage boys between the ages of 13 and 17 can gain as much as 17kg during growth spurts. If they eat the wrong types of food with their ferocious appetites it can lead to obesity.
With girls, it can be due to emotional factors. If they feel they are not high up on the social ladder it can cause depression, low self-esteem and self-perception, leading to comfort eating.
You are probably aware that teenagers are prone to peer pressure and can be coaxed into smoking and drinking sessions. Bad habits such as abuse of alcohol can cause High blood pressure.
It has been found too, that an increase in the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen have a part to play in causing high blood pressure in teenagers.
And don`t forget the latest news on hereditary high blood pressure. Doctors at Johns Hopkins have found that parents with a medical history of high blood pressure could determine the chances of their children developing the condition. Apparently if just one parent has a history of it this increases the possibility by 50 to 80% that their children will develop it, especially males, and if two parents have a history of it then the possibility doubles. So hereditary factors are a real issue and are taken into consideration when doctors are diagnosing high blood pressure in teenagers.
When checking your teens for high blood pressure, it is best to get your doctor to take the test because all the factors above need to be taken into consideration and interpreting the readings differ from that of adults. It can get really complicated.
The doctor will collect data using the age, sex, height and weight of your child and compare it with “Percentile Tables”. These tables are a combination of blood pressure readings from millions of other children. If your teens blood pressure is between 50th and 90th they are considered normal.