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More than 2.5 million children under age 18 are living with high blood pressure, also called hypertension. This is due to many factors, including obesity. The pediatric nephrologists with Norton Children’s Nephrology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, work with children and teens to treat high blood pressure (hypertension) and its complications, including kidney disease.

Norton Children’s Nephrology Pediatric Hypertension Program

Our hypertension program offers treatment from board-certified, fellowship-trained nephrologists who work with you and your child to create a unique treatment plan. We offer ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, a system that records blood pressure checks throughout the day and night to get a full picture of how severe the high blood pressure may be for your child and how they respond to treatments.

Why Do Pediatric Nephrologists Treat Hypertension?

In adults, we may think of high blood pressure as a heart condition or a condition that can lead to heart disease. Hypertension is a cause of kidney disease and can be a symptom of kidney disease. That’s why it’s important for children who have been diagnosed with hypertension to have periodic nephrology appointments.

What Causes Hypertension in Children?

It’s more common for younger children to have a clear cause for high blood pressure. In other children, the cause may not be clear. Children and teens can be at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure due to:

  • Being born premature or with a low birth weight
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood
  • An inflammatory disorder, such as lupus
  • Organ transplant, such as a heart or kidney transplant
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Renal artery stenosis, a narrowing of the artery to the kidney
  • Sleep issues, such as sleep apnea or sleep-disordered breathing
  • Thyroid disorders

Treatment for Hypertension in Children

There are many treatments for high blood pressure based on the cause. Treatments can include:

  • Diet and exercise changes: For overweight children, modifying and adopting the DASH diet (dietary approaches to stop hypertension), which includes low sodium, high potassium foods with lots of fruits and vegetables, and minimal sugar and red meat.
  • Stress reduction techniques.
  • Treating other conditions: If the child’s high blood pressure is accompanied by another condition, such as diabetes or kidney disease, treating these can help the hypertension.
  • Medications to treat high blood pressure.

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