Chicago Health | Homepage
The Kid’s Doctor: Have your child’s blood pressure checked regularly

The Kid’s Doctor: Have your child’s blood pressure checked regularly

By Sue Hubbard, M.D., www.kidsdr.com

When you take your child in for a check-up, does your pediatrician check the youngster’s blood pressure? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children, beginning at the age of 3, should routinely have their blood pressure checked.

In certain circumstances, even younger children should have their blood pressure checked. With the growing epidemic in obesity, pediatricians are seeing more children with abnormal blood pressure readings.

It’s important that the right sized blood pressure cuff be used for measuring a child’s blood pressure. There are standards for blood pressures children of different ages. The standards are also based on a child’s height.

When a child’s blood pressure reading is greater than the 90th percentile for their age, they’re said to have pre-hypertension. The prevalence of childhood hypertension is thought to be between one and four percent, and may even be as high as 10 percent in obese children.

Obesity plays a role, but related to that is inactivity among children, diet, and their genetic predisposition for developing high blood pressure. It is appropriate for further work up to be done to evaluate the reason for the elevated blood pressure.

If I have a patient with a high blood pressure reading during their physical exam, it’s important to re-take their blood pressure in both arms. I also don’t depend on automated blood pressure readings, as I find they are often inaccurate. I prefer to use the “old-fashioned” cuff and stethoscope to listen for blood pressure.

If a blood pressure reading is abnormal, I have the child/adolescent have their blood pressure taken over a week or two at different times of day. They can have the school nurse take it and parents can also buy an inexpensive blood pressure machine to take it at home. I then look at all the readings to confirm that they are consistently high.

The “white coat” syndrome, when a doctor assumes that the elevated blood pressure is due to anxiety, may not actually be the case, so make sure that repeat blood pressures are taken. If your child does have elevated blood pressure readings, it’s important that further evaluation be done, either by your pediatrician or by referral to a pediatric cardiologist.

(Dr. Sue Hubbard is an award-winning pediatrician, medical editor and media host. “The Kid’s Doctor” TV feature can be seen on more than 90 stations across the U.S. Submit questions at http://www.kidsdr.com. The Kid’s Doctor e-book, “Tattoos to Texting: Parenting Today’s Teen,” is now available from Amazon and other e-book vendors.)

(c) 2015, KIDSDR.COM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Similar Articles

Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

Innovative programs provide bridge between pediatric and adult care By Nancy Maes The teen years can be

Five things parents should know about stomachaches

Five things parents should know about stomachaches

By Cleveland Clinic's Children's Health Team How can you tell if it's a regular tummy ache

Parents: Call the doctor right away for these 4 symptoms

Parents: Call the doctor right away for these 4 symptoms

Harvard Health Blog By Claire McCarthy, M.D. As a pediatrician, I've talked on the phone with lots

Five can’t-miss signs that your child is lactose intolerant

Five can’t-miss signs that your child is lactose intolerant

By Kadakkal Radhakrishnan, M.D., and Cleveland Clinic's Children's Health Team In order to pinpoint if your

Dealing with a baby’s first cold

Dealing with a baby’s first cold

The Kid's Doctor By Sue Hubbard, M.D. With the "sick season" upon us, I'm starting to see

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

May 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
April 30, 2017 May 1, 2017 May 2, 2017 May 3, 2017 May 4, 2017 May 5, 2017 May 6, 2017
May 7, 2017 May 8, 2017 May 9, 2017 May 10, 2017 May 11, 2017 May 12, 2017 May 13, 2017
May 14, 2017 May 15, 2017 May 16, 2017 May 17, 2017 May 18, 2017 May 19, 2017 May 20, 2017
May 21, 2017 May 22, 2017 May 23, 2017 May 24, 2017 May 25, 2017 May 26, 2017 May 27, 2017
May 28, 2017 May 29, 2017 May 30, 2017 May 31, 2017 June 1, 2017 June 2, 2017 June 3, 2017

Categories

Recent Comments

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Fund a Cure Night | The Griffith Family Foundation

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives