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What Should A Child’s Blood Pressure Be

What Is The Normal Blood Pressure For Children

High Blood Pressure in Children – Dr. Ashanti Woods – Mercy

Monitoring BP is not necessarily for grown-ups only. Children can and may suffer from hypotension or hypertension, as well. Just like adults, there is also a cut off rate to child bp. It varies by age.

Starting from age 3, the American Heart Association recommends that every childs blood pressure be monitored. This is because as early as this age, underlying health problems may cause abnormal bp.

And if you are quick to spot changes in your sons or daughters BP then you might be able to stop problems before they even start.

Average BP for kids 3 to 6 years old:

The normal blood pressure in children ages 3 to 6 years old is 104/63 to 116/74 mm/hg. This will also vary depending on the size and gender of the child. If the child is somewhat tall or big, then you can expect a higher BP rate than that of smaller kids.

Signs And Symptoms Of Hypertension

Often, kids and teens with pre-hypertension or stage 1 hypertension wont show any symptoms at all. If your child has stage 2 hypertension, she might experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • abdominal pain
  • breathing problems

An infant with stage 2 hypertension may seem irritable, not be feeding properly, or vomiting. Sometimes these infants are diagnosed with failure to thrive.

What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

Blood pressure readings are composed of two numbersfor example, 120/80 mm Hg.

The top number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number measures the pressure in your arteries between each heart beat.

The standard unit of measure, mm Hg, stands for “millimeters of mercury.” Mercury pressure gauges have been replaced with electronic pressure gauges, but the abbreviation is still used.

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Measuring Blood Pressure In Hospital

For some babies and young children it can be very difficult to take blood pressure measurements. They may become distressed in the clinic and may not be able to take the electronic measurements at home. These children need to go into hospital for 24 hours to have their blood pressure measured regularly during the day and night.

Low Blood Pressure In Children: Types Causes And Treatment

Measuring Blood Pressure in Children

Low blood pressure or hypotension, occurs when the blood pressure goes below the normal range. It happens when the systolic or top reading goes below 90mmHg, and diastolic or bottom reading goes below 60mmHg . The blood pressure in children could go down due to several reasons. Identifying them may help parents in normalizing it.

Keep reading this MomJunction post as we tell you about the possible causes and symptoms of low blood pressure in children and its treatment.

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A Summary Of Pediatric Bp Categories Stages And Follow

  • The table was recreated from the articles listed below. Given that there were slight variations in BP values, we elected to include both percentiles and BP ranges.

Elevated or persistent or pre-HTN

;90th;to 95th;percentile

or 120/80 mm Hg to <95th percentile

Consider school or home BP monitoring

Stage 1 HTN

>95th;to 99th;percentile + 5 mmHg ;

or 130-139/89 mm Hg

Evaluate in 1 week to 1 month

Stage 2 HTN

> 99th;percentile + 5 mm Hg

or >/=140/90 mm Hg

Evaluate in 1 week or sooner if symptomatic

White-coat HTN

> 95th;percentile in a medical setting.

Normal outside the medical setting

Consider ABPM as well as home or school BP monitoring

Masked HTN

< 95th;percentile in a medical setting.

> 95th;percentile outside a medical setting

Consider ABPM in high-risk patients.

Measurement And Detection Of Elevated Blood Pressure

In 2013, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Academy of Family Physicians cited insufficient evidence to recommend screening for high blood pressure in average-risk children.20,21 Based primarily on expert opinion, the 2017 AAP guidelines recommend measuring blood pressure annually beginning at three years of age, and the 2016 European Society of Hypertension guidelines recommend screening every two years beginning at three years of age.8,11 Measurements should occur at every health care encounter in children and adolescents with risk factors .8,11 Blood pressure should be measured in children younger than three years only if they have risk factors for hypertension, which includes the same risk factors as older children in addition to prematurity, a family history of congenital renal disease, a history of organ or bone marrow transplant, malignancy, elevated intracranial pressure, and systemic illnesses known to increase blood pressure.8


Determining blood pressure cuff size in children and adolescents. Measure arm circumference midway between the olecranon and acromial process. The inflatable bladder width should be at least 40% of the arm circumference, and the bladder length should be 80% to 100% of the arm circumference.

Reprinted with permission from Luma GB, Spiotta RT. Hypertension in children and adolescents. Am Fam Physician. 2006;73:1560.


Algorithm for managing elevated blood pressure in children and adolescents.

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Learning And Ensuring Blood Pressure For Your Children Is Normal Is Extremely Important Doctors Recommend Annual Check

Blood pressure is a measure of the force of your blood, pushing against the arteries in your body as it moves along. High blood pressure happens when the blood is being pushed too hard around the body, while low blood pressure happens when there isn’t enough blood being pushed around your body.

Blood pressure readings have two numbers. For instance, your child’s reading could be 115/62. The first number is the systolic pressure, which indicates how hard blood moves around your body when the heart is pumping. The second number is the diastolic pressure, which indicates how hard blood moves around our body between heartbeats, when the heart is resting and filling itself with blood. Then do you know the normal blood pressure for children? Keep reading on to learn that.;

Causes And Risk Factors

High Blood Pressure In At Least 2 Million American Children and Teens | NBC Nightly News

In young children, hypertension often results from an underlying medical condition. This kind of hypertension, known as secondary hypertension, can be caused by an imbalance of hormones that help to regulate blood pressure.

For instance, children with excess levels of aldosterone, a hormone made in the adrenal glands, often retain water and salt while eliminating too much potassium, which can lead to hypertension.

Cushings disease, which causes overproduction of another adrenal hormone, cortisol, may raise a childs blood pressure. Hypertension can also occur in children with Graves disease, in which an increase in thyroid hormone levels raises heart rate. ;

Chronic kidney disease, which causes progressive kidney damage, is another important cause of hypertension. Chronic kidney disease can occur in children who are born with a congenital kidney problem, or in those with conditions that affect filtering structures in the kidneys, such as glomerulonephritis;and renal tubular disorders. It can also develop in children with other disorders that cause kidney damage, such as lupus. Over time, chronic kidney disease leads to a buildup of excess fluid and sodium and an increase in the production of renin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure.

A narrowing of one or both renal arteries, the vessels that supply the kidneys with blood, can also cause hypertension. It can be treated with a procedure to widen the narrowed blood vessel.

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Is A Blood Pressure Reading Always The Same

Blood pressure can be affected by many factors, including the following:

  • The time of day. Blood pressures fluctuate during waking hours, and are lower as we sleep.

  • Physical activity. Blood pressure is usually higher during and immediately after exercise, and lower at rest.

  • Emotional moods. Feelings can affect blood pressure.

  • Stress. Physical or emotional stress can elevate blood pressure.

  • Your child’s age, height, weight, and gender. Blood pressure varies for each child.

  • Other illnesses. Other illnesses your child may have affects blood pressure.

Children may be anxious in a doctor’s office, not knowing what may happen and being afraid of a possibly painful experience ahead of them. Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers may be fearful of being separated from their parent or caregiver. Many emotions related to visiting the clinic can affect blood pressure and may give falsely high readings.

Before determining that;your child has high blood pressure, a doctor or nurse will take several readings when your child is calm and you are present to comfort him or her, if needed. The staff may let some time lapse before retaking a blood pressure reading, to make sure your child has rested and has become calm. More meaningful blood pressure readings can be obtained this way.

From Age 12 Upward A Measurement Of 120/80 Or Lower Is Ideal

Your doctor can use detailed tables to determine more precisely if your childs blood pressure is normal, borderline or high.

The majority of children and teens we see with elevated blood pressure are overweight. For these patients, treatment consists of lifestyle changes that include a doctor-approved diet and physical activity plan. Increased cardiovascular exercise, and a diet low in salt and rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and low-fat dairy has been shown to lower blood pressure. For pre-pubescent children, were not so much trying to achieve weight loss as to help kids grow into their weight. For about 1-2 percent of our patients who have sustained high blood pressure at multiple doctor visits, we prescribe medication along with lifestyle modifications.

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Normal Blood Pressure In Boys

Using the blood pressure tables, below is a sampling of normal blood pressure ranges for boys:

  • Normal blood pressure in 1-year-old boys ranges from 85 to 88 for systolic pressure, and 40 to 42 for diastolic pressure.
  • For 6-year-old boys, normal systolic pressure ranges from 93 to 97, while the 50th percentile for diastolic blood pressure falls in the range of 54 to 57.
  • Normal blood pressure in 12-year-old boys ranges from 101 to 108 systolic pressure over 61 to 63 diastolic pressure.

How Does Blood Pressure Work

When and How to Measure Blood Pressure in Children

Blood pressure is the force against blood vessel walls as the heart pumps blood. When the heart squeezes and pushes blood into the vessels, blood pressure goes up. It comes down when the heart relaxes.

Blood pressure changes from minute to minute. It’s affected by activity and rest, body temperature, diet, emotions, posture, and medicines.

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Cause Of Low Blood Pressure In Children

One of the main causes of low blood pressure in children is adrenal fatigue. When the blood pressure is not regular, the brain is not getting enough profusion or blood flow, and then the body will suffer. In the case of adrenal fatigue, what happens is, because the adrenal glands regulate the sodium and potassium balance, there is a tendency, as the adrenals get weaker that the body is not able to regulate this as much as it should. As a result, the sodium is usually lost through the deficiency or the subclinical effectiveness of aldosterone: the hormone that is regulating the blood flow and the water flow.

Now, this hormone is critical because in adrenal fatigue this hormone aldosterone tends to be low. As a result, the sodium is not going to be easily maintained in the body. At this time the laboratory values may be the same or normal. Many children suffer from low blood pressure because they are losing sodium. Without sodium, the water inside their body does not flow. So, in other words, the water stays with the sodium, wherever the sodium goes the water goes. So as long as the sodium is high, the water will be retained in the body. When the sodium is low then the body will tend to lose water. If you lose water, then your blood pressure will go down; it will stay down consistently.

Normal Blood Pressure For Teen Boys

Normal blood pressure in adolescents is defined as less than the 90th blood pressure percentile, as outlined in the most recent practice recommendations published in the August 2004 issue of “Pediatrics.” Understanding the normal range for a specific teen requires applying the teens age and height percentage from the standard growth charts to the blood pressure chart. For example, a normal blood pressure for a 13-year-old boy, whose height falls in the 50th percentile, is below 122/77. A normal blood pressure for a 17-year-old boy who falls on the 90th percentile for height is below 135/84.

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Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure In Children

Knowing the early 5 common signs of low blood pressure can help your child receive the best treatment before it becomes serious or even life-threatening.

When the heart is squeezing blood into the arteries, the pressure is high. And when the heart is relaxed, the pressure is lower. Most doctors would say that you have low blood pressure if it is below 90/60 mm/Hg. Your doctor will refer to this as 90 over 60.

Given below are, 5 common signs of Hypotension or Low Blood Pressure that you must keep in mind:

  • Your child is feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
  • Your child might experience frequent fainting.
  • having an irregular heartbeat.
  • His/her thirst has increased more than normal.
  • He/she is experiencing a lack of concentration.
  • Having some of the signs of low blood pressure doesnt ensure that your child is definitely suffering from this condition, but you should always contact your doctor, just to make sure. Theres no better treatment for low blood pressure than prevention. The sooner you can find out what your blood pressure is, and can take steps to reduce it, the better it is.

    Knowing the numbers can save your childs life. Making sure he/she is not having low blood pressure is just one of the many reasons to receive regular checkups from your doctor.

    What Is Blood Pressure

    What dietary modifications should be made by young adults who have hypertension? | HBP

    Blood pressure, measured with a blood pressure cuff and stethoscope by a nurse or other health care provider, is the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls.

    Two numbers are recorded when measuring blood pressure:

    • The higher number, or systolic pressure, refers to the highest pressure inside the artery. It occurs;when the heart contracts and pumps blood;into the body.

    • The lower number, or diastolic pressure, refers to the lowest pressure inside the artery. It occurs;when the heart relaxes and fills with blood.

    Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries, resulting in the highest blood pressure, the systolic pressure,;as the heart contracts, and the lowest blood pressure, the diastolic pressure, as the heart relaxes.

    Both the systolic and diastolic pressures are recorded as “mm Hg” . This recording represents how high the mercury column is raised by the pressure of the blood.

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    Treatment For High Blood Pressure

    Specific treatment for high blood pressure will be determined by your child’s;doctor based on:

    • Your child’s age, overall health, and medical history

    • Extent of the condition

    • Your child’s tolerance;to specific medications, procedures, or treatments

    • Expectations for the course of the condition

    • Your opinion or preference

    If a secondary cause has been found, such as kidney disease, the underlying disease will be treated. If no cause has been determined, the first treatment approach is lifestyle therapy, including the following:

    • Weight reduction

    • Increasing physical activity

    • Healthy diet

    These interventions can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure, improve the strength of the heart, and lower blood cholesterol. These are all important steps in preventing heart disease as an adult.

    Medications to control high blood pressure are only needed in about 1 percent of children with the disorder. Consult your child’s;doctor for more information.

    Home Care Tips For Children With Low Blood Pressure

    A home care routine can help make low blood pressure manageable and may even help restore normal blood pressure.

    • Food that contains sodium could help in maintaining the blood pressure. Savory snacks, cured meats, cheese, chicken, soups, and bread have sodium content . You may speak to a pediatrician or a pediatric dietician to know about the right quantity of sodium your child needs at their age.
    • A well-balanced diet is also essential to maintain blood pressure. Having vegetables, fruits, and nuts as part of your daily diet helps. Foods rich in folic acid and vitamin B12 should be included in the regular meals.
    • Drinking adequate water can help prevent dehydration, which is one of the causes for low blood pressure in children.
    • Tell your child to slow down the pace of any strenuous physical activity. The child must avoid standing or sitting for too long, especially in warm outdoors.
    • Compression stockings can help maintain optimum blood pressure in the upper body and prevent blood from pooling in the legs. Speak to the childs doctor about the use of stockings for your child.

    It is possible to prevent low blood pressure by focusing on healthy habits. If the childs blood pressure has dropped suddenly, and you notice unusual symptoms such as pain in the chest or severe headache, then take them to the doctor for further diagnosis and to know the right treatment.

    Do you have anything to share about low blood pressure in children? Write to us in the comments section below.

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    Types Of Low Blood Pressure In Children

    The threshold of blood pressure in adults is usually static. However, it differs in children based on their age, height, and gender percentile . Hypotension can be classified into four categories:

  • Orthostatic hypotension: It happens when a childs blood pressure falls when they are in a standing posture for a long time. They may have symptoms such as headache, weakness, and difficulty in vision.
  • Neurally mediated hypotension: Also known as syncope, it is caused when the brain and heart have an abnormal reflex interaction due to a glitch in the autonomous nervous system. It could occur when the child is in a warm surrounding, has been standing for long, after exercise, or after eating .
  • Severe hypotension: It is a substantial drop in blood pressure due to severe infection, loss of excess blood, severe allergy, injury, or trauma .
  • Low blood pressure in children could be caused due to various factors or could be the result of a condition or an event.


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