Watch Out! Almost 1 in 5 Indonesian Children Have Hypertension, Here’s Why

WARTAINDONESIA EN – Prevalence of Indonesian children have hypertension or high blood pressure, generally considered an adult disease, is also affecting children. Shocking data shows that 18.9 percent of children aged six to 18 in Indonesia suffer from hypertension, much higher than other countries like the United States (4.2 percent), Brazil (5.5 percent), and Africa (5.5 percent).

Dr. Heru Muryawan, SpA(K), a member of the Nephrology Coordinating Working Unit (UKK) of the Indonesian Pediatrician Association (IDAI), revealed that hypertension in children is divided into two types: primary and secondary. In children, the majority of cases are secondary hypertension, which means there is another underlying condition accompanying the high blood pressure.

Of the many cases, more than 90 percent of children suffer from hypertension due to kidney disease. “This is why we need to pay close attention, because if it continues into adulthood, their kidneys will be damaged until adulthood if not treated properly,” added Dr. Heru.

Other conditions that accompany hypertension in children are heart disease and obesity. Parents need to be aware of hypertension in children by starting routine screening at the age of three.

Risk Factors for Hypertension in Children

Besides kidney disease, other risk factors that can increase the chances of a child developing hypertension include:

  • Lack of physical activity: Children with minimal activity are at risk of hypertension because their blood vessels require elasticity and flexibility.
  • Excessive consumption of sugar, salt, and fat: Consuming too much sugar, salt, and fat can increase the risk of hypertension.
  • Exposure to cigarette smoke: Children exposed to cigarette smoke are at higher risk of developing hypertension.
  • Obesity: Obese children are more at risk of developing hypertension.
  • Premature birth: Premature babies with a birth weight below 1.5 kg are at higher risk of developing hypertension.

Prevention of Hypertension in Children

Parents can take preventive measures to protect their Indonesian Children Have Hypertension by:

  • Encouraging children to be active and exercise regularly.
  • Limiting sugar, salt, and fat intake in children.
  • Avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke in children.
  • Maintaining ideal body weight for children.
  • Conducting routine screening for hypertension in children from the age of three.

Impact of Hypertension in Children

Hypertension in children can lead to various serious complications, such as:

  • Heart disease: Hypertension can damage the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and heart failure.
  • Kidney disease: Hypertension can damage the kidneys and lead to kidney failure.
  • Stroke: Hypertension can increase the risk of stroke, which can lead to permanent brain damage or death.
  • Eye damage: Hypertension can damage the eyes and cause diabetic retinopathy, which can lead to blindness.

The Importance of Early Detection and Management of Hypertension in Children

Early detection and management of Indonesian Children Have Hypertension are crucial to prevent serious complications. Parents need to be aware of the symptoms of hypertension in children, such as:

  • Headache: Children who frequently complain of headaches can be a sign of hypertension.
  • Dizziness: Children who are often dizzy or feel like they are going to faint can be a sign of hypertension.
  • Fatigue: Children who are easily tired and have no energy can be a sign of hypertension.
  • Shortness of breath: Children who are often short of breath can be a sign of hypertension.
  • Nosebleeds: Frequent nosebleeds in children can be a sign of hypertension.

If parents find these symptoms in their child, they should immediately take them to a doctor for examination and treatment.

By understanding the causes, risk factors, and impact of Indonesian Children Have Hypertension, parents can take preventive and early detection measures to maintain their children’s health.