Unlike high blood pressure in adults, doctors can almost always find the cause of hypertension in a child: kidney disease, blocked blood vessels, hormone abnormalities, pinching of the main blood vessels, or obesity. Many children with untreated high blood pressure have evidence of heart damage called left ventricular hypertrophy. The incidence of high blood pressure in children is increasing, probably because of the increased incidence of obesity ( American Family Physician, Volume 73, 2006).
Whatever the cause, your child must learn how to control weight by exercising more and taking in fewer calories by limiting foods made with refined carbohydrates, saturated fats or partially hydrogenated oils. He or she will certainly need medication, at least until blood pressure is reduced or a cause is found. The drugs with the fewest side effects are ACE-inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers.