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Cause and Risk Factors of High Blood Pressure in Younger Children

johnmiller3413 February 7, 2021

A child with age less than six experiences symptoms of high blood pressure due to some other medical conditions. The causes of high blood pressure in older children and adults are the same including lack of exercise, poor nutrition and excess weight. Being active, exercising regularly and eating a diet that is good for heart health can be very helpful to children with high blood pressure. However, medications become necessary in some cases. The following are the symptoms of high blood pressure in younger children:

These symptoms indicate that it is likely to be a hypertension crisis:

  • Chest pains
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fluttering, pounding or fast heartbeat

These are symptoms of an emergency. Therefore, see a doctor immediately. If your child is suffering from high blood pressure, use a digital blood pressure monitor to check blood pressure regularly. 

Some medical conditions can also lead to a high risk of blood pressure. These conditions include:

  • Low birth weight
  • Premature birth
  • Congenital heart disease

Book an appointment with a child’s doctor if your child is obese or overweight or have other high blood pressure risk factors. 


Younger children suffer from high blood pressure due to certain health conditions. These conditions include hormonal disorders, genetic conditions, certain kidney diseases and heart defects. The risk of primary hypertension is high in an overweight child. The child may not have any other health conditions in such cases.

Risk factors

Whether or not your child will have hypertension depends on factors including lifestyle, genetics and health conditions. 

Primary hypertension

There is no identifiable cause of primary hypertension. This type of hypertension is rare in children with age less than 6. Primary hypertension has the following risk factors:

  • High blood pressure history in the family
  • Obesity or overweight
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • High cholesterol
  • Being male
  • Sedentary lifestyle 
  • Being Hispanic or black
  • Exposure to smoking
  • Smoking

Secondary hypertension

Some health conditions are responsible for secondary hypertension. Causes include: 

  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal disorders
  • Heart problems
  • Obstructive sleep apnea or other sleep disorders
  • Steroids, decongestants and certain other medications
  • Pheochromocytoma

It is important to treat high blood pressure in younger children. Otherwise, your child will continue to suffer from this condition. The risk of the following will be very high in adulthood:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney diseases
  • Heart failure

Change lifestyle to prevent heart disease in children. If it is due to some other condition, get treated. Keep track of blood pressure with a digital blood pressure monitor.

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