Keep an Eye Out For Your Child’s High Blood Pressure

McLeod Pediatric Cardiologist Charles Trant, Jr., MD, cautions parents to watch out for high blood pressure in their children – a problem that could lead to serious problems in adulthood:

Here’s a summary of Dr. Trant’s comments:

High blood pressure is becoming more and more common in children. Part of it is related to lifestyle, because youth don’t do physical education class in school nearly as much as they used to. They spend more time inside playing video games and less time outside running around. A lot of them develop weight problems. And that, unfortunately, is the cause of a lot of the problems.

Let’s say you look at a 30-years-old with high blood pressure. Twenty years later that person is going to be having problems. Even if their blood pressure was moderately well controlled. Now, you look at a three-year-old with high blood pressure and you follow them for 20 years.

The scary part is that many of those children are starting to have the same types of problems that we see in adults after 20 years of moderately controlled blood pressure. Scary stuff.

Many of those children also have diabetes, because of the extra weight. And 20 years of moderately controlled diabetes is still scary stuff with lots of complications.

So, the best thing is to avoid the problem to begin with. If you notice your child starting to gain some weight, don’t wait until he or she is 30 or 40 pounds overweight to decide we might need to start making some changes.

Every time my high blood pressure patients come in, I ask them, “What are your three jobs?”

A lot of times they look at me like they have no idea what I’m saying — even though we have covered it before.

The three jobs are diet, exercise and medicine.

  • The diet piece:  salt is not your friend and try to cut back on the calories.
  • Exercise:  every day. Not just when it’s convenient. I know they aren’t going to exercise every day for the rest of their life. Life gets in the way. But if they make it a goal that if they missed Tuesday, then Wednesday they are out there. So that way they don’t miss too many days.
  • And if the doctor prescribes medicine, you do your best to take it every single day, as prescribed.
    If the child does their job but high blood pressure still remains, the ball is back in my court. I have to do something different to get them healthy.

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