DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic Staff
High blood pressure (hypertension) in children is blood pressure that's the same as or higher than 95 percent of children who are the same sex, age and height as your child. There isn't a simple target blood pressure reading that indicates high blood pressure in all ages for children, because what's considered normal blood pressure changes as children grow.
High blood pressure in children younger than 10 years old is usually caused by another medical condition. High blood pressure in children can also develop for the same reasons it does in adults — including being overweight, eating a poor diet and not exercising.
Lifestyle changes, such as eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising more, can help reduce high blood pressure in children. But, for some children, medications may be necessary.
Oct. 23, 2015
- Black HR, et al. Hypertension in children and adolescents. Hypertension: A Companion to Braunwald's Heart Disease. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2007.
- Marcdante KJ, et al. Hypertension. In: Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2015. http://www.clinical key.com. Accessed Oct. 3, 2015.
- Mattoo TK. Evaluation of hypertension in children and adolescents. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.
- High blood pressure in children. American Family Physician. 2012;85:704.
- Essouma M, et al. Hypertension prevalence, incidence and risk factors among children and adolescents in Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. British Medical Journal Open. 2015;5:e008472.
- High blood pressure in children. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/UnderstandYourRiskforHighBloodPressure/High-Blood-Pressure-in-Children_UCM_301868_Article.jsp. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.
- The fourth report on the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2004;114(suppl):555.
- Tips for parents: Ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/children/index.html. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 7, 2015.