Did you know that it’s possible for children to develop hypertension (high blood pressure)? Sometimes it is a genetic issue; sometimes it’s related to diet and lack of exercise. On rare occasions it can signal a serious underlying condition.
If your child’s blood pressure is too high, the pediatrician may want to do some tests to determine the cause, especially if the child is of normal weight. If obesity is the cause of hypertension, the doctor and nutritionist will help you develop a diet and exercise program to normalize weight and blood pressure. You will want to make sure that your child loses weight in a safe manor. Normal weight can also help prevent many other serious health issues, like diabetes.
Here’s a chart from emedicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics that gives normal ranges for heart rate (pulse), blood pressure, and respiration for children and teens.
|Age||Heart Rate (beats/min)||Blood Pressure (mm Hg)||Respiratory Rate (breaths/min)|
|0-3 mo||100-150 *||65-85/45-55||35-55|
|12 > yr||55-85||110-135/65-85||12-18|
* From Dieckmann R, Brownstein D, Gausche-Hill M (eds): Pediatric Education for Prehospital Professionals. Sudbury, Mass, Jones & Bartlett, American Academy of Pediatrics, 2000, pp 43-45.
Also check out this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics about hypertension in children and teens. It gives lots of good information in how to prevent high blood pressure, signs and symptoms, and the importance of early detection.
At Georgetown Pediatrics, we typically start testing blood pressure in 3-year-olds. It’s something you should mention to your child because she might be frightened by it. Let her know it will squeeze tightly but won’t hurt. Some children even experience what health professionals call “white coat syndrome,” meaning a fear of medical offices and personnel. You can help your child get over this fear by not expressing any concerns in front of him, but speaking positively about doctors, nurses, and staff. Tell him that all those people like him and want him to stay healthy. Smile when you talk about them, be positive when you are in the office.
As your medical home, we always want your child to feel as comfortable as possible here.
© MBS Writing Services, 2015, all rights reserved