If a parent has high blood pressure, a child is twice as likely to develop the condition as someone with no family history. Children who are overweight usually have higher blood pressure than those who are not. In fact, most children have hypertension for the same reasons as adults: family history, obesity, and lack of regular exercise.
The most common symptoms are headaches, dizziness, and light-headedness, but these are often so mild that the child ignores them. Many children with high blood pressure have no symptoms at all. Irritability, excessive crying, failure to gain weight, poor feeding, and low-grade fever are the only symptoms in children younger than two or three years.
In severe cases, symptoms of encephalopathy, cardiac failure, blindness, or kidney failure occur and require hospitalization.
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