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390 Million Children: Ticking Time Bombs of Peadiatric Hypertension…..!

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Screens, Sleepless Nights & Junk Food = Childhood Hypertension Crisis!

Staff Reporter : Gurugram, 13th. June 2024 : “Hypertension” or high blood pressure has recently become increasingly prevalent among children and young adults. Causes of pediatric hypertension including overweight and obesity, heart defects, kidney problems, poor diet etc. are on the rise. As per the World Health Organization, around 390 million children and adolescents were found to be overweight in 2022, and 160 million of them were struggling with obesity – a key cause of high blood pressure.1

“Childhood obesity becomes the root cause of many other diseases, including cardiovascular problems, and thus leads to hypertension at a tender age. With changes in lifestyle and diet, the risks of hypertension in children can be mitigated. However, certain causes of pediatric hypertension are more complex, including genetic and hormonal disorders. Unfortunately, even if undetected or untreated in childhood, hypertension can raise the long-term risk of serious heart conditions like stroke and heart attack by four times. Pediatric hypertension is a burning health concern and requires the instant attention of parents for the well-being of their children.” says Dr Praveen Gupta, Chief of Neurology and Principal Director, of FMRI Gurugram. With 20 years of flourishing medical career, Dr Praveen Gupta is one of India’s top Neurologists. He has been awarded the AIIMS Gold Medal, Gem of India, Best Neurologist in Delhi NCR by Times Research, Dr Ambedkar Seva Ratna, and Outstanding Natural Citizen for his outstanding contributions.3 He is deeply concerned about children’s physical and mental health and works to promote healthy routines among children so that they may stay away from fatal diseases like high blood pressure at a small age.

At the global level, hypertension in children is a reason for premature deaths.2 Rising inactivity, increased screen time, and popularized junk food consumption in children have heavily contributed to this. During COVID-19, when the entire world was shut down, children got more confined to their homes instead of playgrounds and parks. This shift in lifestyle was an alarming situation for their physical and mental health too.

According to Dr H K Chopra, Sr. Consultant Clinical, Preventive Cardiology and Echocardiography Dept. of Cardiology and Medicine Moolchand Medcity, “Healthy modifications in lifestyle can decrease the risk of hypertension in children and adults. Right from an early age, children should be encouraged for regular exercise and healthy eating habits. Consumption of a DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), regular health check-ups and quality sleep are some of the essentials that can mitigate the risk of hypertension.” Screen time, obstructive sleeping schedules, lack of consistent exercises, and regularity in consumption of high sodium diet and junk food are the main causes of hypertension in children.

Dr Praveen Gupta throws light on hypertension in children and discusses the dreadful impacts, he states, “”As a neurologist, I am deeply concerned by the rising trend of childhood obesity and its potential long-term consequences, including stroke. Strokes, once thought of as a condition affecting only adults, are becoming increasingly prevalent in children due to factors like high blood pressure often associated with obesity. Early intervention is crucial. By promoting healthy lifestyles and weight management in children, we can significantly reduce their risk of stroke and other serious neurological complications later in life.”

For a healthy tomorrow, it becomes essential to start with healthy habits today. Thus, instead of ignoring pediatric hypertension, starting an instant medical consultation and treatment can help to prevent bigger health problems.



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