People who are in their 40's and 50's are usually the ones who walk into the doctor's office with the typical high blood pressure symptoms.
But Clinics of North Texas Pediatrician Daunne Peters said she's seen a 20% increase in the number of kids and teens with the disease in the last two years. Peters said before then, her only cases came from a genetic renal abnormality.
"But now that's not what we're seeing anymore. That's a rare occurrence. What we're seeing is just true essential hypertension because of the obesity epidemic," said Peters.
Now a new research published by the Hypertension Journal supports what's happening in Texoma. It shows that 27% of American teens and children are at higher risk for high blood pressure because of more salt in their diet. This could change a kid's quality of life dramatically, not to mention cause a heart attack or organ disease.
Peters said, "Instead of getting high blood pressure at 30's and 40's and having it for 10 or 20 years before your life span you are now getting it at 14, 16 so you're looking at 40 and 50 years worth of damage to your heart and vessels and organs."
Some of Peter's patients even had to drop out of sports and modify their usual activities. But if a kid or teen drops a lot of weight and exercises frequently they might control the disease on their own.
"And then there's the rare occurrence where we actually have to put them on high blood pressure medication. Then you have a 15 or 16 year old taking high blood pressure medication," said Peters.
Researchers say high blood pressure is responsible for about 350,000 preventable deaths each year in the U.S.