Normal blood pressure in children
It’s unusual for blood pressure in children to be abnormal. However, there may be cases where this occurs. First, let’s look at normal blood pressure in children and how it can change over time.
Because children have lower blood pressure in general, high blood pressure in kids is diagnosed when their blood pressure is higher than 95% of the children their age in the general population. Your pediatrician will have a chart that measures appropriate blood pressure for your child’s age.
A blood pressure children table from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute can be can be downloaded here.
Cause of hypertension in children
If a child has high blood pressure, or hypertension, it’s usually the result of a medical problem, not one of lifestyle. However, as children are suffering more from obesity high blood pressure and diabetes are both being seen in younger and younger people.
Kids who eat unhealthy diets and don’t get enough exercise can suffer from hypertension. Having this problem so early in life set kids up to have many health problems later in life related to heart disease. This can lead to high blood pressure in children and adults.
Preventing high blood pressure in children
To give your child the best start in life it’s important to build healthy habits at a young age. For example, it’s important to help set up a lifestyle that leads to wellness. There are many things you can do to support your child having healthy blood pressure now and in the future.
For example, make sure your child eats a lot of healthy fruits and vegetables and stays away from high sugar, high fat foods. Too much salt in the diet can also put you at risk for heart disease, so help your child to appreciate a wider variety of spices and not depend on sodium.
It’s also important to begin helping your young one develop an active lifestyle. This doesn’t mean your child needs to be a gym rat. Instead, as a family you can participate in staying active. For example, encourage your child to play outside and ride his or her bike.
Take trips to the park and play family games of basketball, flag football, volleyball, or mini golf. Even helping with chores such as yard work can help your whole family stay active. It’s also important to limit TV and computer games that lead to a sedentary lifestyle.
Develop healthy habits now
You can have a major role in your child’s health by beginning healthy habits now. Your little one will be more likely to be a healthy adult. And if your goal is to avoid the high blood pressure in children that sometimes comes from a poor lifestyle, you’ll also meet it.