Your child's risk factors for high blood pressure depend on underlying health conditions, genetics or lifestyle factors.

Primary (essential) hypertension

Essential hypertension is high blood pressure that occurs on its own, without an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure occurs more often in older children and adolescents. The risk factors for developing essential hypertension are:

  • Being overweight or obese (a body mass index over 25)
  • A family history of high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes or a high fasting blood sugar level
  • High cholesterol and triglycerides

Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that's caused by an underlying health condition. This is the type of high blood pressure that's more common in young children. Other health conditions that can cause high blood pressure include:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Heart problems, such as coarctation of the aorta
  • Adrenal disorders
  • Conditions affecting the kidneys, such as lupus
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Pheochromocytoma, a rare tumor in the adrenal gland
  • Narrowing of the artery to the kidney (renal artery stenosis)
Dec. 18, 2012