Capital Pediatric Cardiology

High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure services offered throughout Central California

High blood pressure doesn’t just affect adults — it can develop in children at any age. At the Capital Pediatric Cardiology offices in Sacramento, Roseville, Modesto, Placerville, Cameron Park, Stockton, Chico, Anderson, and Reading, California, the team of highly skilled heart health experts provides specialized care for children and adolescents with high blood pressure. Call your nearest office or request a consultation online to ensure your child receives the finest high blood pressure treatment.

What is high blood pressure?

If you have high blood pressure (hypertension), the force that blood pumps along your arteries is too high. This can damage the blood vessels and lead to severe health problems like heart disease and stroke.

Most cases of high blood pressure occur in older adults, but children can also develop this condition. In adults, there are specific ranges for healthy and unhealthy blood pressure. These use a systolic measurement (read when the heart beats) and a diastolic reading between beats.

In adolescents, a blood pressure reading above 130 systolic or 80 diastolic (expressed as 130/80) indicates unhealthily high blood pressure. However, younger children don’t have a target range because so much changes as they grow. Doctors consider a child to have high blood pressure if they’re in the 95th percentile for children of the same age, sex, and height.

High blood pressure causes no symptoms, so the only way to be sure your child doesn’t have hypertension is to undergo a simple blood pressure reading.

Why would my child have high blood pressure?

Children aged six and over are more likely to have primary hypertension — high blood pressure with no underlying condition. Risk factors for primary hypertension include: 

  • Excess body weight
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Overeating salt
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Smoking or secondhand smoke exposure
  • Being Black or Hispanic
  • Being male

Secondary hypertension is more common in young children. It may be caused by the following:

  • Heart problems
  • Kidney disease
  • Renal artery stenosis (narrow kidney artery)
  • Adrenal disorders
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid gland)
  • Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea

Decongestant medication, stimulants that treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), caffeine, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroids can sometimes cause high blood pressure.

How is high blood pressure treated?

Lifestyle changes are the essential foundation of high blood pressure treatment. That means ensuring your child eats a heart-healthy diet low in cholesterol and salt and encouraging them to exercise more. Treating underlying health problems is also vital in managing blood pressure.

Sometimes, children need to take medications for hypertension, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin II receptor blockers, or diuretics (water pills). These medicines relax the blood vessels and prevent fluid buildup, reducing your child’s blood pressure.

Call Capital Pediatric Cardiology or request an appointment online today for expert advice on high blood pressure in children.