Causes of Hypertension in Youth

Youth who experience elevated blood pressure levels are at increased risk for developing hypertension, which can carry over into adulthood. Adult hypertension often originates in childhood or adolescence.

Hypertension in youth is a medical condition that needs to be observed very carefully. As reported by the Guidelines for Adolescent Nutrition Services in 2005, one in four adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure. Youth who experience elevated blood pressure levels are at increased risk for developing hypertension, which can carry over into adulthood. Adult hypertension often originates in childhood or adolescence.

Obesity

Obesity would seem to be a contributing factor to hypertension in youth. Elevated blood pressure readings are highest in obese adolescents. Inactivity and excess abdominal fat are factors associated with an increased risk of hypertension in youth.

Poor Nutrition

An inadequate supply of nutrients can cause changes to the metabolism in youth, increasing their risk for hypertension and other diseases, which if not effectively treated will continue into adulthood.

Lack of Physical Activity

Inactivity is a leading cause of hypertension in children and adolescents. Youth who do not exercise have an increased risk of developing hypertension by as much as 20 to 50 percent, according to a 2004 report by the National Institutes of Health, National High Blood Pressure Education Program.

Substance Abuse

Youth who abuse alcohol, tobacco and other drugs have been found to have repeated blood pressure elevations. Drugs associated with increased risk for hypertension in adolescence include steroids, cocaine, diet pills, and other drugs containing stimulants.

Stress

Hypertension triggered by stress can be found in youth as well as in adults. A rise is blood pressure seems to be triggered by the production of hormones by the nervous system in response to stress. Meditation activities can help in relaxation and reducing hypertension. Anything that can be done to effectively manage stress will help in lowering the blood pressure.

Poor Diet

Youth often have poor diets, high in fat and sodium, which can contribute to hypertension. A well-balanced diet should be part of an overall weight loss plan including aerobic exercise. Losing as little as 10 pounds can effectively help in reducing hypertension in youth. Weight loss stimulants should be avoided as they can actually cause an increase in blood pressure.

Risks

Hypertension in youth can lead to many health problems including coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, vascular disease, stroke, and aneurysms. Detecting hypertension in youth and adolescence can decrease these risks of health issues and concerns in adulthood.

Sources:

http://hyper.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/full/45/4/493

http://www.epi.umn.edu/let/pubs/img/adol_ch11.pdf

http://uscnews.sc.edu/2009/02042009-RSRC030.html

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/60420.php

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