High Blood Pressure in Teens: Causes and Treatment


Blood pressure is one of the essential factors for a living. If there is no blood pressure the blood flow in the body will stop and the oxygen supply will not be possible. Well, when this blood pressure increases, it is called hypertension or high blood pressure. Hypertension is a condition when the pressure of blood flow is too high. This increased pressure can wear out the arteries and also make the heart work harder. Generally, the pressure rises in several instances such as during physical activities, change of emotions such as sudden anger, fear or happiness, etc. But, the condition of hypertension leads to persistent high blood pressure. It is more likely to happen in adults, but due to several lifestyle changes, several cases have been diagnosed in kids and teenagers as well. Let’s look into the various aspects of high blood pressure in teens.

Causes and Treatment for High Blood Pressure in Teens

high blood pressure in teens

Symptoms of high blood pressure in teens

People can suffer from hypertension for years without actually knowing about it, this is because high blood pressure has no specific symptoms. In some rare cases, severe blood pressure can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Bleeding through nose
  • Feeling of nausea
  • Changes in vision

Generally high blood pressure is diagnosed only when you visit the doctor for routine checkup. If it remains persistent without any treatment for long, it can turn out to be a silent killer.

Causes of high blood pressure in teens

Well, suffering from such a disease at a young age is not at all an appealing instance. High blood pressure can be primary or secondary. The cause for primary hypertension is not specific. It may be a result of some kind of lifestyle disorder like obesity whereas secondary is due to some kidney or heart disorder.

Primary causes of high blood pressure in teens are:

  • Obesity which is very common in kids these days.
  • Stressful life and unhealthy lifestyle. Teens are very much under peer pressure, pressure of studies and many more stressful situations. They are at a tender stage and are in the process of learning to fight such situations.
  • Lack of exercise and more intake of junk food
  • Inclusion of lots of salt in the diet.
  • Addiction to drugs, alcohol or tobacco at such a young age
  • Certain medicines such as birth control pills or steroids.
  • Premature birth or insufficient weight during birth can also be a reason for high blood pressure at later stage.
  • Family history of high blood pressure or heart diseases.
  • If the mother of the baby smokes during pregnancy, this can also lead to such condition later.
  • Obesity at a younger age can lead to reduced cardiovascular fitness.

These lifestyle factors are the most common reason for high blood pressure in teens. But there are some secondary reasons as well.

Secondary causes of high blood pressure in teens:

  • Kidney diseases and heart diseases in kids that may be a result of some irregularities in the heart or kidney. Some kidney diseases are such that the veins are blocked or the heart is unhealthy.
  • Drugs such as cocaine can act as poison to your body. High blood pressure is one of the consequences.
  • Prescription medicines such as corticosteroids.

Diagnosis of high blood pressure in teens

It is very simple and systematic process to diagnose blood pressure in adults. But when it comes to teens, the process gets a little complicated. The diagnosis is done by checking blood pressure at different instances on different days. Let’s look into the five factors that help doctors determine high blood pressure in teenagers:

  • Age
  • Gender: Blood pressure is generally higher in boys
  • Height
  • The diastolic blood pressure reading
  • The systolic blood pressure reading

These values are further compared to other teenagers to determine the blood pressure percentile.

  • Normal blood pressure in teens lies beneath the 90th percentile.
  • When the blood pressure lies between 90th and 95th percentile or if the blood pressure is greater than 120/80 but the percentile is below 90th for the age of the teenager, it is said to be prehypertension.
  • Stage 1 hypertension in teenagers is related to blood pressure that falls under the 95th percentile and 5.0 mmHg above the 99th percentile.
  • When the blood pressure is greater than 95th percentile plus 5.0 mmHg, it is said to be stage 2 hypertension.

This may sound really complicated and the blood pressure value may also seem high when considered, but when you compare is as per the age, weight and other factors it may seem normal.

The doctor may also prefer certain tests such as ECG(Electrocardiogram) so as to check the teenager’s heart rate, blood test and Test of urine.


Treatment and prevention of high blood pressure in teens

The treatment is generally based on the percentile of hypertension in the child. Well, in order to avoid major health issues later in life, it’s better to treat this problem at an early stage. Various lifestyle changes are a boon in controlling the rise of blood pressure. Eating healthy food, maintaining an appropriate body mass index, avoiding cigarettes, drugs and other addictions, losing weight and the most important one is exercising regularly.

The basic treatment involves maintaining a diet which is low in salt, consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat and non-fatty dairy products, less fatty and sweet food, etc. In case of stage 2 hypertension or some other symptomatic disease are prescribed antihypertensive medication.

So, this was all about the problem of high blood pressure in teens. It’s clear that the major reason for this is the lifestyle of children. So, the basic treatment can be maintaining a proper lifestyle. So, it becomes the responsibility of parents to check the occurrence of this disease in their kids. Or else it can cause many more diseases later on, such as diabetes, higher chances of heart stroke and many more. It comes to you silently and can end your life drastically. A proper healthy lifestyle is all that you need to fight or prevent this issue.  Stay alert stay healthy!