Hypertension Center Investigates Causes of Pediatric High Blood Pressure and Initiates Effective Treatment
For decades, kidney problems were the main source of high blood pressure (hypertension) in children. However, the obesity epidemic has changed the landscape. Like many adults, an increasing number of children are being diagnosed with primary hypertension. Also known as essential hypertension, this condition has no definable cause, but may be linked to factors such as genetics, poor diet, inactivity and obesity.
At University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, the Hypertension Center combines expertise, experience and advanced knowledge to meet the complex needs of today’s children. The center is focused on treating high blood pressure with both lifestyle modifications and medication, when needed. Our goal is to investigate and uncover the causes of elevated blood pressure and develop individualized care plans for each child’s unique situation.
At the Hypertension Center, families have access to a wealth of expert pediatric resources. Utilizing our comprehensive, coordinated method of care, young patients can get much of their testing performed during their first visit.
Once testing results are evaluated, the team devises the best approach for treatment. Depending on the child, the team may recommend:
- Consulting the nephrology team to manage hypertension caused by obesity, kidney problems and other medical conditions
- Working with clinical dietitians to reduce weight and sodium intake, both of which can aggravate hypertension
- Consulting with the endocrinology and metabolism team as needed
When weight is an issue, families may be referred to Healthy Kids, Healthy Weight. The endocrinology team developed this intensive lifestyle management program specifically for children with weight and activity issues.
High Blood Pressure Research Specific to Children
Children respond to drug therapy differently than adults. The Hypertension Center is actively involved in intensive research and clinical trials focused on pediatric hypertension, medication and the relationship between blood pressure and weight. These studies may result in important advances in treatment and management for today’s children and future generations.