Dr. David Soria Q&A Can children have high blood pressure
Speaker 1: Time now to answer some common medical questions with News Channel five medical expert, Dr. David Soria. He is the Chief of Emergency Medicine at Wellington Regional Medical Center. As always, we appreciate you coming in. We know you’re a busy guy.
Dr. Soria: Thank you.
Speaker 1: I read both of these questions that we’re going to talk about. Kind of scary and really took me back for just a second. The first question is, can children have high blood pressure?
Dr. Soria: Yeah, yeah. The answer is absolutely. Matter of fact, it’s about 3% of all kids have high blood pressure. The bad news is, it continues to go up. The causes are about the same as they are in adults. The unfortunate part is it can cause the same type of complications when it comes to heart disease, kidney disease, and believe it or not, even strokes.
The number one reason why we continue to see an increasing rate of childhood hypertension is because of childhood obesity.
Speaker 1: Obesity.
Dr. Soria: That’s right. Our kids are eating too much, and doing too little. That is the exact same reason as to why adults can’t control high blood pressure. It’s the same recommendations that we give to our adult patients that we want to give to your children. That is avoid the salty and the sugary snacks.
Speaker 1: Sure, sure.
Dr. Soria: Get out there and exercise. Diet and exercise. We say this so many times, but the reality is that is really the mainstay of our therapy.
Good diet, good exercise regimen, that’s key. We don’t want to just start throwing our kids on additional medication to treat that blood pressure. Let’s get them out.
Speaker 1: Just because they’re young, doesn’t mean there’s no ramifications for their health habits.
Dr. Soria: That’s exactly right. In other words, when we’re young, we can compromise. Our body can tolerate a little bit more, so we don’t normally see the increase in blood pressure that early in life, but some children are different.
Speaker 1: Talking about stroke, you mentioned that … Can teenagers have strokes?
Dr. Soria: Yeah. Teenagers can absolutely have strokes or even heart attacks. The reality is the pathology is the same. It is rare, but it can occur. It’s a blockage of the blood vessel.
Now, the causes may be a little bit different than an adult. In other words, it can be a clotting disorder, you can have familial lipidemia, which just clogs the vessels up. But for the most part, the risk factors are the same. High blood pressure, smoking, family history, and diabetes. Those are the big ones. So the reality is again, the key though is when your child is having symptoms of chest pain, don’t want you to blow it off. Make sure you get that checked at least initially, right?
Then just to make sure they don’t have significant disease.
Speaker 1: Do a followup.
Dr. Soria: You bet. That’s important.
Speaker 1: All right. Dr. Soria, thank you so much.
Dr. Soria: You’re welcome.
Speaker 1: You can send in your health questions by going to our website, WPTV.com. Click on the health link. Scroll down and then on the right hand side you’re going to see a form to write your question.
We appreciate you coming in, once again.
Dr. Soria: You’re welcome.
Speaker 1: We’ll be right back.