High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Bringing Down the Risk

Growing up healthy

Growing Up Healthy

Children's Health /

Blood pressure sleeve closeup

To better understand how high blood pressure develops and leads to hypertension and heart disease you need look no further than salt and its effect on the body. Too much salt causes our kidneys to react. To excrete excess salt, the kidneys increase our body's blood pressure. Continued elevated blood pressure leads to hypertension, which is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease and stroke.

American children are showing increases in both weight and blood pressure levels. Right now, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of school-age children have high blood pressure for their age, and the numbers are rising. These percentages parallel the obesity epidemic and the increased consumption of salty snacks and fast foods in young children around the world.

Children aren't born with a taste for salt. That's right—it's actually an acquired taste. And the sad fact is that we Americans consume ten times as much salt as we need. It's in our frozen foods, our canned foods, our processed foods, our snack foods, and also on the dinner table. It's everywhere! So why not put those saltshakers away now and help our children avoid high blood pressure and a lifetime on expensive drugs with possible side effects?

Categories: Children's Health
About The Author
Growing up healthy
In Growing Up Healthy, Joan Lunden, one of America's most trusted journalists and most visible working moms, teams up with Dr. Myron Winick, a leading expert in childhood nutrition, to produce a guide that contains the lifesaving knowledge we all need to shield our children from disease and help them grow into strong, fit adults.
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