I am sure most of you know the importance of checking the blood pressure of adults as high blood pressure can have serious consequences such as stroke and heart attack.
You may be wondering, should I get my childrens’ blood pressure checked? Can they get hypertension?.
Answer, is yes.Children can get high blood pressure , fortunately, not as common as adults. However since they can get hypertension their blood pressure should checked.
Hypertension can be either “essential”, where precise cause is not detected or can be secondary where underlying cause is found.
Children under 3 years of age usually have secondary hypertension so in their cases thorough investigation should be done to find the cause and treat it. Secondary hypertension are due to diseases affecting the kidneys, blood vessels, endocrine glands, heart or brain.
While children above 3 years of age can have essential hypertension just like adults but of course they can have secondary hypertension also, so their hypertension should be termed essential only after excluding secondary hypertension.
So for all the children blood pressure should be measured once a year. However if any child has any disease that can cause high blood pressure their blood pressure should be measured more frequently.
There are two factors one must know while measuring the blood pressure in children.
1. The cuff that is used to measure the blood pressure, need to be of appropriate size for children.
2. Value of normal blood pressure in children varies with age.
The table below gives normal blood pressure in children according to age.
(This is for children who have average height. The blood pressure will be a bit more for taller children and a bit less for shorter children.)
Age. Systolic. Diastolic
1. 98. 52
2. 100. 55
3. 101. 58
4. 102. 60
5. 103. 63
6. 103. 66
7. 105. 68
8. 106. 69
9. 107. 70
10. 108 72
11. 110 74
12. 113 75
13. 120. 80
For children where there is an underlying cause for hypertension, beside treating the hypertension underlying cause need to be treated also.
For older children in whom essential hypertension is diagnosed and who have mild hypertension, life style changes should be attempted especially for obese children.
However if this does not help in reducing the blood pressure do not hesitate to give drugs that your doctor will prescribe for your child.
In children with moderate to high hypertension, drug therapy should be started as soon as hypertension is confirmed. The treatment will need to be continued for a very long time.
Blood pressure of children with hypertension should be monitored at home, 2 to 3 times a week and the results should be noted in a diary.
This will help the doctor to adjust the treatment for your child.