Causes of High Blood Pressure in Teenagers

By Contributing Writer

  • Overview

    Causes of High Blood Pressure in Teenagers
    High blood pressure is a serious health condition, and it can lead to heart disease, heart attack and stroke. While we may think that only adults can get high blood pressure, it can occur in teenagers and younger children as well. High blood pressure in teenagers can be caused by a variety of genetic and lifestyle factors.
  • Obesity

    Being overweight or obese is one of the leading causes of high blood pressure and the majority of teenagers who have high blood pressure are overweight. According to Mass General Hospital, more than 50% of teenagers with high blood pressure are not just overweight, but obese. Luckily, it is possible for teenagers to reduce their blood pressure by getting more exercise and losing weight.
  • Stress

    Stress is a contributing factor to high blood pressure in adults, and it can also play the same role in teenagers. A study conducted by John Hopkins University found that teenagers who felt repeatedly stressed or frustrated were much more likely to develop high blood pressure than teenagers who only reported moderate levels of stress. Just like adults, teenagers can benefit from stress reduction techniques such as meditation, exercise or yoga.

  • Lack of Sleep

    Other medical studies have also found a correlation between inadequate sleep and high blood pressure in teens, including one by the University Hospital Sleep Center. This study of approximately 250 teenagers found that those who got inadequate amounts of sleep were three times more likely to have high blood pressure. Most health experts agree that teenagers should get at least eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Diet

    There are multiple nutrition-related factors that can contribute to high blood pressure in teens. Eating a diet filled with lots of fat and sodium, two items very commonly found in popular processed food items these days, can lead to high blood pressure. African American teenagers have been shown to be more sensitive to sodium than other groups, according to Mass General Hospital. In addition, caffeine and alcohol can contribute to increases in blood pressure, particularly for those who are sensitive to caffeine or who drink more than 2 to 3 alcoholic drinks a day.
  • Genetics

    There may be no specific cause to explain the high blood pressure of a teenagers, and doctors typically refer to that condition as primary blood pressure. In addition, it is possible for teenagers to inherit a tendency to have an elevated blood pressure from their parents or to develop high blood pressure because of a medical problem like kidney disease.
  • What to Do

    All teenagers should have their blood pressure checked regularly, ideally during an annual exam. A doctor or family physician is the best person to consult if you have questions about high blood pressure and how it occurs. Teenagers can reduce their risk for developing high blood pressure by exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
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