Understanding Hypertension

Hypertension, which is increased blood pressure, is becoming more prevalent in children partially due to the present epidemic of obesity. Hypertension in children can also occur due to congenital abnormalities of kidneys and some inherited diseases. Uncontrolled hypertension can have serious effects on organs such as the brain, heart, eyes and kidneys. Unfortunately, children with hypertension are more likely to have hypertension as an adult.

At Arkansas Children's Hypertension Center, a multidisciplinary team cares for children with hypertension associated with being overweight as well as other more complicated diseases of the kidney, heart and endocrine system. Our team will determine if the child’s blood pressure is higher than normal, seek to find underlying causes and prescribe lifestyle changes and medications when indicated.

Causes of Hypertension

There are a number of causes of hypertension, ranging from primary hypertension associated with obesity to high blood pressure associated with other diseases. These diseases include:

  • Acute or chronic kidney disease and kidney transplantation
  • Inherited and metabolic diseases
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Medications

Help with Clinical Anxiety

Approximately 30-40 percent of children seen at a doctor’s office experience “White Coat Hypertension.” This phenomenon occurs in children and adults, and happens when patients have a higher blood pressure when in a clinical setting.

Arkansas Children’s has an ambulatory blood pressure monitoring program to measure blood pressure outside the clinical setting. Not only is this convenient option eliminate white coat hypertension, it delivers a more realistic blood pressure reading, helps to avoid unnecessary treatments, and treat hypertensive patients more effectively.

What to Bring to Your Appointment

In order to gain a deeper understanding of your child’s history, please bring previous medical records to your visit, including clinic or hospital blood pressures, laboratory tests, radiologic procedures, ECG, echocardiogram, etc. For some patients, we will perform 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring at home prior to your clinic appointment.

For any questions about hypertension concerns or to learn more about our services, call 501-364-1847 for an appointment with one of our specialists. You may also ask your child’s pediatrician or primary care doctor for a referral.