It’s a disease growing among children and something government agencies are working to stop because of the severe health consequences it can have.
“It’s not just a disease for the older population. We see a lot of children who are affected by high blood pressure,” said Annabelle Jordan a Family Nurse Practitioner with Covenant Health.
In fact, Jordan said it’s a big misconception that hypertension and high blood pressure is a disease that only adults face.
“You think, they’re a kid, they’re young, they’re healthy and so they can’t get high blood pressure they can’t get complications that come with high blood pressure. But, they can,” said Jordan.
In fact, if your children are diagnosed with high blood pressure and hypertension at a young age they could also face dangerous health problems like cardio vascular disease and even organ damage. Something they’ll have to be treated for their entire lives.
To make things more difficult there aren’t a lot of symptoms for parents to watch out for.
“It’s a silent disease. So, the best thing is just to get in with your pediatrician and have their annual you know, wellness exam where they can get their blood pressure there,” Jordan said.
Then if your child is diagnosed with high blood pressure, doctors will send you home with a blood pressure cuff. That way they can get readings for a period of time to see if it’s really high or if your child was just nervous.
“Then if it’s still elevated we like to recommend life style changes. Getting more exercise, eating more fruits and vegetables and sometimes it might even require medication,” explained Jordan.
So one of the best things you can do as a parent now is improve your family’s diet.
“Decrease your fast food intake. If you do have a lot of fast food try to make more healthy choices that aren’t fried, go for baked items. You can try, fruits, vegetables and limit chips, candy, soda and push more water,” Jordan said.
Another big change that Jordan said is important for everyone is putting down devices and spending more time being active.
It’s a role Jordan said is paramount for parents becuase if your children see you implementing healthier habits they’re more likely to follow suit and change their lives as well.