High Blood Pressure in Children

Children of all ages, from birth to teens, can have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. There are often no symptoms and early diagnosis and treatment are important.

Pediatric guidelines recommend that all children ages 3 and older have yearly blood pressure checks for early detection and treatment. Children younger than 3 may need blood pressure checks if they have a high risk condition.

Healthy blood pressure ranges in children

A healthy blood pressure range for your child depends on three factors:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Height

How children can develop high blood pressure

High blood pressure in children can come from several risk factors. It can also be secondary hypertension, caused by another health condition. A variety of factors can contribute to the condition, including:

  • Family history
  • Excess weight or obesity
  • Race — As with Black adults, Black children are also at a higher risk for high blood pressure. Learn more about Black people and high blood pressure.
  • Too much sodium or calories in their diet
  • Diabetes
  • Low birth weight or premature birth
  • Heart or blood vessel disorders
  • Kidney disorders
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Sleep apnea  

Treatment of high blood pressure in children

Treatment includes managing lifestyle factors, (such as diet, weight and physical activity, and medication. Read about Life’s Essential 8 for Kids, healthy habits for improving and maintaining cardiovascular health.