What should you know?

  • High Blood pressure( B.P) is also called hypertension.

  • Measurement of blood pressure is an important test that should be done in childhood every time you take your child to the doctor.

  • This is particularly important as high blood pressures in childhood can lead to high blood pressures as adults.

 

How is blood pressure measurement?

  • The Blood pressure is measured by wrapping a cuff around the hand or legs and inflating it.

  • The blood pressure of your child is compared to standardised values that are expected based on the age and height.

  • Blood pressure has two components- called Systolic and diastolic. Example if your child bp is 120/ 80, the systolic is 120 and diastolic is 80.

  • Remember both these values have to be maintained within normal limits.

 

At what age can blood pressure be measured?

  • Blood pressure can be measured at any age, even in newborn babies.

  • It is very important to get your newborn baby’s blood pressure measured at least once after birth in the first week of life.

  • This is done in all the limbs( both legs and arms) to rule out malformations of the heart.

 

Why does high blood pressure occur?

  • The normal blood pressure is necessary to drive the blood throughout the body.

  • This normal blood pressure is constantly maintained by various hormones and other organs like the kidneys and heart.

  • When there are alterations in any of their functions, there is a problem with blood pressure.

 

Why is high blood pressure worrisome?

  • In high blood pressure, there is reduced blood flow to various organs like kidneys, eyes, heart leading to permanent and serious damage.

  • In younger children, high blood pressure is most often due to structural damages like malformations in heart or kidneys. Hence they need to be investigated in detail.

 

How do I know if my child has high Blood Pressure?

Most children with high Bp may have no symptoms at all. But some others can present with following symptoms-

  • Headache- Always get the Bp checked if your child has a headache

  • Vision disturbances- difficulty in seeing, or blurred vision.

  • Fast heart rate or feeling of heart thumping

  • Sweating

  • Losing weight or failure to put on weight.

  • Blood in urine or repeated tummy pain

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness or bleeds from nose

  • Even fits or unconsciousness

 

What are the investigations done?

Tests are done not only to diagnose high Bp but also to see the complications caused by high BP

These tests are as below

  • Blood tests- to see the effect on liver, kidneys and other hormone levels

  • Urine tests.

  • Scans like kidney scans and Echo

  • ECG which is a reading of heart rhythm

  • Eye examination to see any changes.

 

How is high BP management?

If the child has high Bp then the child is started on the treatment.

If the child has moderately high Bp then the child will be assessed repeatedly at least on 3 different occasions to recheck the Bp.

 

What are the treatment options?

This completely depends on the cause of high bp and severity of bp

if the bp is moderately high then the doctor may ask for changes in diet or changes in lifestyle.

During this period, it is important to follow up with your doctor to see the improvement in 3 to 6 months time.

If the child is obese, measures to bring down the weight is very important.

If none of these measures works over a period of 6months or if the bp is severely high, then various medications are used on a daily basis.

 

How often should my child follow up with his doctor?

If your child suffers from high blood pressure, then make sure you get their Bp measured at least once in 3 months.

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