Blood Pressure in Children

Blood Pressure in Children

What’s your three-year-old’s blood pressure? August 2004 guidelines from The National High Blood Pressure Education Program Working Group on Children recommend that blood pressure screening begin at age 3 for all healthy children, and even earlier for those at high risk (such as those who were born early, small, or who are taking medicines that might raise the blood pressure). Childhood is the key time to influence future heart health.

As obesity and physical inactivity become more common in children, so do hypertension and pre-hypertension. There are also important connections between high blood pressure and snoring, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol. If a child has one, consider whether the others may be present or on the way. Hypertension and pre-hypertension are silent stalkers. Unless the blood pressure is checked, you won’t be alerted to their presence. The earlier these silent conditions are identified and addressed, the healthier your child (and future adult) will be. So, what’s a normal blood pressure in children? At age three, you don’t want your child’s blood pressure to be above 107/69. At the kindergarten physical, you don’t want the blood pressure to be above 109/69. At age 10, it’s time to make a change if your child’s blood pressure is above 117/75.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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