My child aged 4 years was admitted in the hospital with convulsions
recently. The doctor said that he had high blood pressure because
of which he got a fit. Is it possible?
It is possible to get convulsions due to high BP and this episode
is called hypertensive encephalopathy
which is due
to increased intracranial pressure (increased pressure in the
brain) or brain swelling due to high BP. Associated with convulsions
the child may have paralysis of one side (hemiparesis), blindness
and speech defect.
Q2) Is hypertension common in children? I through it occurred
only in adults.
Hypertension through rare in children when compared with adults
occurs in 1 2 % of school going children who look apparently
What is normal blood pressure in children?
Normal blood pressure in children varies according to age, gender
and height of a child.
What are the causes of hypertension?
Cause of Hypertension in 80 85% of children are due to
kidney diseases. Less than 5% are due to endocrinal (hormonal)
disorders or tumors. Heart disease forms less than 3% hypertensives
and rare cases of meningitis, encephalitis, brain tumors are other
known causes. Less than 1 2% hypertensive children are
due to essential or primary (cause unknown) hypertension in preadolescent
How do I know whether my child is suffering from high BP?
Symptoms of hypertension are nonspecific in young children. Irritability,
excessive crying, failure to gain weight, poor feeding, low-grade
fever are the only symptoms in children younger than 2
3 years. Later on headache, vomiting, palpitations, giddiness,
are present. In severe and acute cases (hypertensive crisis)
signs and symptoms of encephalopathy (fits), cardiac failure (swelling
over the body), blindness or renal failure occur which require
hospitalization. BP recording is the only method by which hypertension
is detected in children with vague symptoms.
Q6) What is the treatment for hypertension? When is treatment
Treatment of hypertension is urgently required to control
BP in hypertensive emergencies to prevent damage to brain, heart,
kidney and retina.
cases with chronic hypertension which is moderate or severe, oral
medicines are used depending on the cause. Chronic hypertension
may require treatment for years.
to moderate hypertension with minimum symptoms may be controlled
by non pharmacologic measures like weight reduction in obese children,
diet control (low salt, high potassium, high calcium & magnesium
and low fat diet), exercises yoga, life style modification,
reduction of stress etc.
Q7) What are the complications of high BP?
Long term complications of hypertension are stroke, cardiovascular
damage resulting in heart failure, renal failure and retinopathy
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created on 09-05-2001
updated on 18-11-2006