By Dr. Brian McDonough

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – High blood pressure in children and teens is a growing problem but many parents don’t even think of it as a concern for their kids.

Doctors are aware and routinely take blood pressure. Normal blood pressure in children varies by age but there are charts which have complete lists of what pressure is the correct one and doctors can compare.

When it comes to kids we look at charts and graphs. Hypertension is considered to be an issue when a child is 95% on the graph for children of that age.

The reason why we are so concerned is that, if we don’t catch it in time, high blood pressure can damage the heart muscle and make it weaker and less able to do its job. Think about all the damage high blood pressure can do in adults if it starts at 40 or 50 and it’s not noticed or treated. If this happens in childhood the results can be devastating.

Routine physical exams can help detect the condition and there is no doubt that exercise and proper diet can help offset it.

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