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What is Normal Blood Pressure for Children?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 12 October 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The rate of normal blood pressure for children depends on the specific traits of each child. Factors such as height, gender, and the age are all considered when determining if the systolic blood pressure — which is the highest level of force blood flow can exert on the vessels — is at a healthy level. Most doctors will use a percentile to determine normal blood pressure for children. Children around the 90th percentile are typically considered to have a healthy blood pressure.

Systolic blood pressure works alternately with diastolic pressure, which is the lowest level of force exerted on the blood vessels. When a child’s blood pressure is taken, both numbers are measured with a piece of equipment called a sphygmomanometer. It reads the pressure via a band that is secured around the child’s upper arm, usually on the right side. Many doctors will primarily rely on the systolic numbers to determine the child’s percentile ranking.

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A doctor will usually determine normal blood pressure for children with the help of a chart that outlines which rate matches the gender, height, and weight of a particular child. For example, a three-year-old female child who is 36 inches (91 centimeters) tall is considered to have normal blood pressure if her systolic blood pressure rate reads below 100. A reading from 100 to 103 usually indicates that the child has prehypertension. Rates that read from 104 to 115 and 116 and over indicate the development of stage one and stage two of hypertension respectively.

The rate of normal blood pressure for children is in the 90th percentile or lower. A child who ranks in the 95th percentile will usually have prehypertension and need to lose weight and adopt a healthier long-term diet. Children who rank in the 99th percentile often have hypertension and must undergo a more intense treatment plan, which will typically also focus on diet, in order to lower blood pressure.

High blood pressure is extremely rare in children. Heredity can often lead to the condition. Many older children will develop the condition due to poor habits such as being excessively sedentary, eating a lot of unhealthy foods, and gaining weight to the point of obesity. Infants with high blood pressure tend to get the condition as a result of another problem, such as illnesses of the heart or kidneys. Premature babies will also often have high blood pressure.

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