High Blood Pressure In Infants
You must be thinking that
hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition limited to adults only, now think again.
Newborns, infants and teenagers could also suffer from high blood pressure. It is estimated that
nearly 5% of kids may have high blood pressure and the chances of a newborn having high blood
pressure is unfortunately on the increasing trend.
Infants and Newborn babies
usually have hypertension when they are born pre-term or they have congenital problems with the
kidneys or the heart. It has been noticed however that when kids have high blood pressure
usually there is a family history of such conditions and/or coupled with a poor lifestyle
including bad diets, obesity or physical activity is inadequate.
Hypertension High blood
pressure in infants are however, caused by premature birth or they have problems with other
organs like the lungs, heart, kidneys even their vascular system may also be involeved.
Premature babies are often born with a condition called broncho-pulmonary dysplasia, In this
condition lungs essentially are immature.
These infants may also have
problems like coarctation of the aorta, which means that the major blood vessel which carries
blood to the heart is narrowed anywhere from ascending to descending aorta. High blood pressure
in infants could also be due to a blood clot in blood vessels of kedney.
Side effect of some medications may also be a
cause of high blood pressure in infants
Side effect of some medications
may also be a cause of high blood pressure in infants, exposure to hallucinogenic drugs like
cocaine while in the womb, some types of tumors, genetic problems or issues related to the
thyroid gland functioning. Newborn babies are supposed to have blood pressure as 64/41 and it
rises as the baby grows. So an average baby between one-month to 2 years would have the blood
pressure reading as 95/58. Slight variations from these figures should not be a matter of
concern but more than this medical help should be sought immediately.
In normal, there are no
symptoms of high blood pressure in infants but there could be symptoms of the condition that is
responsible for the high blood pressure or HBP. These include rapid breathing bluish or pale
skin, zero weight gain or growth, frequent urinary tract infections etc.
Easy irritability, vomiting,
troublesome breathing and even seizures are Other common symptoms when the infant has very high
blood pressure . To be sure that the infant has indeed HBP, the only way is to measure the blood
pressure, which for infants is done using an automatic device.
Suppose if the High blood
pressure is due to coarctation of the aorta, the pulses in the legs could be reduced. Other
tests to diagnose high blood pressure in infants include abdominal ultrasonography angiography,
lab tests of blood and urine, X rays of chest and abdomen, ECG and MRI Magnetic Resonance
How to treat
high blood pressure in infants?
In simple words, always treat
the cause. Treatment for high blood pressure in infants largely depends on the cause behind the
condition and may include: drug therapy, dialysis or surgical intervention like transplantation
or coarctation repairing. The recovery rate for the infant would again depend on the cause of
When will you contact your
doctor, As a parent you ought to be alert when to seek medical help and these would be when you
notice your baby is not gaining weight or has bluish skin, suffers from urinary tract infections
often and seems irritable all the time.
How to prevent this
Unfortunately there is no way
that high blood pressure in infants can be prevented. However there are some steps one can take to
reduce the risk of such conditions. For instance, take the advice of a doctor before becoming
pregnant, if you have a family history of congenital heart disease, hypertension or kidney disease.
Also if you are on medication, taking them during pregnancy may also harm the baby and cause such
situations to develop. Thus it is best to consult the doctor before you decide to become a mother
or taking any medicine during pregnancy.
Incidentally, a study done in
the Netherlands involving 450 babies was done, and reported in the August 1, 2007 issue of
Insider medicine confirms that babies born to smokers have a high chance of developing high
blood pressure. The study also confirmed that babies born to smokers were considerably smaller
and shorter compared to those born to non-smokers. So better to avoid smoking all the