How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed In A Child
Your child’s healthcare provider will diagnose high blood pressure by checking your child’s blood pressure. The provider will check blood pressure over several days or weeks before making the diagnosis. Your child’s healthcare provider will also:
Review your child’s health history, including diet, exercise, activities, and emotional health
Review your family history
Give your child a physical exam
Reliable blood pressure readings taken at home can be helpful in finding out if your child truly has high blood pressure. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring uses a device that can be worn for 24 hours. It takes multiple blood pressure readings and can help get a more accurate reading of overall blood pressure.
Your child’s provider may also order tests. These may include:
Electrocardiogram , to check your child’s heart rhythm
Echocardiogram , to check your child’s heart anatomy and function as well as any narrowing of the aorta
Is 140 Over 70 A Good Blood Pressure Reading
Blood pressure of 140/70 mmHg indicates stage 1 hypertension and may be cause for concern.
Blood pressure readings measure the pressure exerted on your heart when it pumps blood the resistance of blood flow in the arteries. The harder the heart has to pump and the narrower the arteries, the higher the blood pressure.
Generally, normal blood pressure is about 120/80 mmHg or lower. Readings above 140/90 mmHg are considered hypertension, and those above 180/120 mmHg are considered serious. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart diseases and stroke.
Average Blood Pressure By Age
As you get older, your blood vessels tend to become stiffer and plaque can build up in them, which can raise your blood pressure. If your blood pressure becomes too high, you’re at a greater risk for heart disease, strokes, and more.
In 2015, the average blood pressure worldwide was 127/79 mm Hg in men, and 122/77 mm Hg in women, according to a study analysis published in Lancet.
When researchers for the National Center for Health Statistics looked at average blood pressure in U.S. adults between 2001 and 2008, the average reading was 122/71 mm Hg. The breakout was 124/72 mm Hg for men, and 121/70 mm Hg in women. It rose by age and was significantly higher in Black people.
The researchers found the following breakdown by age, sex, and race or ethnicity:
|Blood Pressure by Age|
As the population ages and life expectancy increases, high blood pressure is becoming more common.
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Diastolic Blood Pressure: How Low Is Too Low
Blood pressure consists of two numbers. Systolic pressure, the force exerted on blood vessels when the heart beats, is the upper number. Diastolic pressure, the force exerted when the heart is at rest, is on the bottom in more ways than one. Systolic pressure attracts the lions share of attention from physicians and patients, says UAB cardiologist Jason Guichard, M.D., Ph.D.
Physicians are busy people, and like it or not they often focus on a single number, Guichard said. Systolic blood pressure is the focus, and diastolic pressure is almost completely ignored. That is a mistake, he argues. The majority of your arteries feed your organs during systole. But your coronary arteries are different they are surrounding the aortic valve, so they get blood only when the aortic valve closes and that happens in diastole.
Diastolic pressure has been getting more attention lately, however, thanks in part to an influential paper in Hypertension, written in 2011 by Guichard and Ali Ahmed, M.D., then a professor of medicine in UABs Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care and now the associate chief of staff for Health and Aging at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Most people are trying to lower their blood pressure. What would you define as too low, and why is that a problem?
Blood Pressure Monitor Vs Blood Pressure Cuff
Blood pressure monitor and blood pressure cuff are two phrases often used to describe the same blood pressure measurement tool. The blood pressure cuff is the element that wraps around either the upper arm, wrist or finger to measure blood pressure. The blood pressure monitor is the element in charge of inflating and deflating the cuff, as well as providing your blood pressure reading on an easy-to-read display.
Most experts recommend using a blood pressure monitor with an upper arm blood pressure cuff for at-home readings because they tend to be more accurate than wrist cuffs and finger cuffs.
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Key Points About High Blood Pressure In Children
High blood pressure means that the pressure inside the arteries is too high. This may harm the arteries and cause the heart to work harder.
High blood pressure often has no known cause. Some health conditions and medicines may cause high blood pressure.
Blood pressure changes. Your child’s provider will check it over a period of days or weeks before making a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
Lifestyle changes like weight loss, exercise, and healthy eating can help to lower high blood pressure.
What Is Systolic Blood Pressure
Systolic blood pressure measures how much pressure your blood exerts against your artery walls. The pressure within our arteries changes with every heartbeat, says Ian Del Conde Pozzi, M.D., a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist at the Miami Cardiac & Vascular Institute. When the heart contracts, it pumps extra blood into the circulatory system, increasing the pressure. That increase is measured by systolic blood pressure.
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Why Is It Good To Have Normal Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure is very important. The number showcases how healthy your heart is which can also tell you how healthy you are. High blood pressure is never good because it implies that there is something wrong with your arteries and heart function. When this is compromised, you are at risk for a number of heart-related health issues. Normal blood pressure means you dont have to worry about suffering from a stroke, hypertension, a heart attack or other life-threatening heart issues. High blood pressure isnt something to be taken lightly because it affects a vital organ. Managing your blood pressure doesnt have to be complicated. Simple lifestyle changes like a better diet, regular exercise, water consumption, and proper awareness can save your life and help you maintain normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure matters, and ensuring it stays at a normal level is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Postural Or Orthostatic Hypotension
Postural or orthostatic hypotension occurs when your blood pressure falls after a sudden movement. For example, you may feel dizzy or faint after changing posture, such as sitting up from a lying position, or standing up from a sitting position. This may cause you to lose your balance and fall over. You may also feel light-headed, have blurred vision, or lose consciousness.
The symptoms of postural or orthostatic hypotension should only last a few minutes as your blood pressure adjusts to your new position. This type of low blood pressure tends to affect people more as they get older when it can lead to more frequent falls. Similar symptoms may also occur after exercise.
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Who Was And Wasnt Studied In The Sprint Blood Pressure Trial
Do the study results apply to you or your older relative? This is one of the two most important questions to ask yourself, when you hear exciting news about clinical research.
Why? Because a well-done medical study tells us what health outcomes happened when we applied a certain intervention to a certain group of people. If you arent like the people who were studied, then theres a higher chance you wont experience the benefits that study participants did.
So who was in SPRINT? Here are the criteria the researchers used to define the study group, and enroll participants.
What the SPRINT participants were like:
Its equally important to consider who was excluded from SPRINT. You may have already heard that SPRINT didnt cover people with diabetes or stroke, but the exclusion list is much longer than that.
What the SPRINT participants were not like: Older persons with any of the following diagnoses, conditions, or circumstances were not eligible for the study:
- Clinical diagnosis of dementia, and/or being on dementia medication
- People residing in a nursing home.
- Substance abuse
- Symptomatic heart failure within the past 6 months or left ventricular ejection fraction < 35%
- Polycystic kidney disease or eGFR < 20
- Significant history of poor compliance with medications or attendance at clinic visits.
As you can see, quite a lot of common diagnoses and circumstances were grounds for exclusion from the SPRINT study.
Heart Rate Vs Blood Pressure
Blood pressure measures the force that moves blood through your blood vessels while your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. They are both important health indicators, but they are measured independently and dont necessarily increase or decrease synchronously.
A temporary increase in heart rate, such as during exercise, is not considered problematic. In fact, your heart is expected to rise during a bout of activity and return to its resting rate afterward. And the more intense you work, the more you should expect your heart rate to rise during exercise. Your heart rate can safely double during activity so long as it returns to its resting rate relatively soon after you finish your workout.
Significant increases in blood pressure, on the other hand, are not normal and should be monitored and shared with your health care provider.
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Benefits And Harms Observed In Sprint
SPRINT randomly divided participants into an intensive-treatment group, which aimed for systolic BP less than 120, and a standard-treatment group, which aimed for systolic BP less than 140.
After one year, the average systolic BP among the intensive-treatment group was 121, compared to 136 among the standard-treatment group. The intensive group required an average of 2.8 medications to reach their lower BP goal the standard group required an average of 1.8 medications.
The follow-up period averaged about three years.
Benefits of intensive BP treatment:
During follow-up, 1.65% per year of people in the intensive-treatment group and 2.19% per year of people in the standard-treatment experienced a significant cardiovascular outcome event: a heart attack, a stroke, acute decompensated heart failure, or death from cardiovascular causes.
The study authors calculated that The numbers needed to treat to prevent a primary outcome event, death from any cause, and death from cardiovascular causes during the median 3.26 years of the trial were 61, 90, and 172, respectively.
In other words, if you are like the study participants, and if you decide to switch from a systolic BP goal of 140 to a goal of 120, over a few years youll have:
- A 1 in 61 chance of avoiding a cardiovascular event
- A 1 in 90 chance chance of avoiding death from any cause
- A 1 in 172 chance chance of avoiding death from cardiovascular causes
Harms of Intensive BP Treatment
Treatments For High Blood Pressure
Whether you have prehypertension, or full-blown hypertension at any stage, the treatments options are the same. However, those with more severe high blood pressure may need to be more aggressive in their approach than those with blood pressure readings which are close to normal. Common treatment regimen include:
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Tips For Taking Blood Pressure Medication
If your doctor has prescribed a blood pressure medication, its important to know how to take them to maximize their effect safely. Keep all of these tips in mind:
- When getting your prescription, be sure to inform your doctor of all the medications you are currently taking. This includes vitamins and supplements as these can affect your blood pressure.
- If your blood pressure drops to healthy levels while on the medication, this means the medication is working. If you are asked by another doctor whether you have high pressure, tell them you do, but it is being treated.
- Dont forget to refill your medication before it runs out. Take it with you when traveling so you’re sure never to miss a dose.
- Take your blood pressure medication at the same time each day. If you miss a dose, dont double dose the next day.
- If you are having surgery, ask your doctor whether or not you should take your medication the day of.
- When rising from a seated or lying position, try to move slowly. This can help your blood pressure adjust more gradually and can help prevent lightheadedness. A transfer aid can help with this.
- Over time, healthy lifestyle changes can lower your required dosage.
Enjoy Alcohol In Moderation
While weve all heard the health benefits of a glass of red wine now and then, too much alcohol increases blood pressure, contributes to weight gain, and can cause you to make poor food choices.
For better health, women of any age and men over 65 should enjoy no more than one drink a day, and men under 65 should have no more than two.
What Does The Diastolic Blood Pressure Number Mean
The diastolic reading, or the bottom number, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. This is the time when the heart fills with blood and gets oxygen.
This is what your diastolic blood pressure number means:
- Normal: Lower than 80
- Stage 2 hypertension: 90 or more
- Hypertensive crisis: 120 or more. Call 911.
Our chart below has more details.
Even if your diastolic number is normal , you can have elevated blood pressure if the systolic reading is 120-129.
Know Your Blood Pressure Numbers
To manage your blood pressure, you need to know which blood pressure numbers are ideal and which ones are cause for concern.
In general, meeting the criteria for hypotension has more to do with symptoms and specific situations than with exact numbers. But institutions like the and the United Kingdoms National Health Service consider people hypotensive if their blood pressure falls within this range:
|Systolic blood pressure in mm Hg||Diastolic blood pressure in mm Hg||Blood pressure category|
|And 60 or below||Hypotension|
The numbers for hypotension serve as a guide, while the numbers for hypertension are more precise. According to the , these ranges represent normal, elevated, or high blood pressure:
|Systolic blood pressure in mm Hg||Diastolic blood pressure in mm Hg||Blood pressure category|
|higher than 120||Hypertensive crisis|
When looking at these numbers, notice that only one of them needs to be too high to put you in a hypertensive category. For example, if your blood pressure is 119/81, youd be considered to have stage 1 hypertension.
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When To Call Your Doctor
The risks of both high and low blood pressure make monitoring your blood pressure at home essential to your overall health and well-being. Both Dr. Wong and Dr. Desai recommend calling your healthcare provider if your self-monitored blood pressure readings are greater than 180/120 mmHgeven if you have no other symptoms.
You should call 911 if these blood pressure readings are associated with symptoms of organ damage, such as headache, vision changes, weakness, numbness, chest pain or shortness of breath, says Dr. Wong.
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Treatment For Low Or High Blood Pressure
Your reading may indicate a blood pressure problem even if only one number is high. No matter what category of blood pressure you have, its important to monitor it regularly. Talk with a doctor about how often you should check your blood pressure at home.
Write the results in a blood pressure journal and share them with the doctor. Its a good idea to take your blood pressure more than once at one sitting,
The doctor will likely address that health condition or concern first.
If its unclear why your blood pressure is low, treatment options may include:
- eating more salt
- wearing compression stockings to help prevent blood from pooling in your legs
- taking a corticosteroid like fludrocortisone to help increase blood volume
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Blood Pressure Is Diagnosed By A Doctor Using A Blood Pressure Machine The Process Includes:
- Being seated in a chair with your back supported
- Putting your feet flat on the floor and supporting your arm at heart level
- Remaining quiet for five minutes and refraining from talking
It is very important to use the proper size cuff when taking a blood pressure reading. Failure to do so will lead to inaccuracies. A cuff that is too small for the arm circumference will give an artificially high reading. A cuff that is too large will give too low a reading. Initially, blood pressure should be measured in each arm to make sure both readings are the same. The arm with the higher readings should then be targeted for all future blood pressure checks.
If your blood pressure readings are high, your doctor may ask that you return for additional measurements on different days because blood pressure can vary widely from day to day.
Your doctor will most likely diagnose you with high blood pressure if you have several readings of 140/90 or higher. If you have readings of 130/80 or higher and are diabetic or have chronic kidney disease, you are likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure.
What can I do if I am diagnosed with high blood pressure?
Eat healthy food
Make sure your diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. An easy tool for planning health meals is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet which can help you reduce your systolic blood pressure by 8-14 mm Hg.
Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Increase Physical Activity