Age standards for blood pressure in childhood

Pathologies of the heart and blood vessels, which are increasingly registered in childhood, have led to the need for more careful monitoring of children. One of the main indicators of the cardiovascular system is blood pressure (BP). It is these numbers that can alert doctors and become the first signals that the performance of the heart and blood vessels are abnormal. Doctors monitor blood pressure in children from the first days of a baby’s life, observing its dynamics throughout childhood.

The concept of blood pressure

For the life support of the child’s body, blood constantly circulates in his vessels, being pushed there by the heart muscle. At this time, the blood with a certain force acts on the walls of blood vessels in order to move further along the bloodstream. More pressure is created in large vessels, and vice versa in small ones. To ensure a balance of one’s own indicators with atmospheric ones, there are certain norms that make a person’s condition comfortable. Children, like adults, can also suffer from pressure differences, which is manifested by lethargy, drowsiness, and headaches.

Blood pressure indicators are one of the vital ones for a baby. In order to correctly assess the numbers, there is a pressure rate by age, with which doctors check. The indicator is determined in a large vessel – the brachial artery, and the left hand is taken as the standard, since here the pressure is several units higher than on the right.

The BP indicator consists of two numbers – systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic is the result when the heart muscle is contracted, and diastolic – the numbers at the time of its relaxation. The systolic result is always higher than the diastolic, and for children, the rates of systole and diastole do not correspond to the figures to which adults are accustomed – 120 to 80. In a child at different ages, blood pressure has a different rate and only at 8 years old the indicator for the first time approaches the adult figures as much as possible.

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Pressure standards at different ages

It should be noted right away that there may not be a uniform pressure in children of the same age. These indicators are individual and depend not only on the correct or incorrect functioning of the heart and blood vessels, but also on the constitution of the child, his body weight, level of physical activity, mood, time of day. Affects the result and puberty of the child’s body, especially at 11 and 14 years old, when significant changes in life and metabolism occur. At the same time, both children with different data will feel absolutely healthy.

Indeed, it is impossible to “drive” the pressure indicators into a unified framework, therefore, through long observations by leading pediatricians, a table with for children of different ages was compiled. For each age group, this indicator has its own amplitude, the so-called. “Norm corridor”. This means that children with different blood pressure may well enter the corridor of the norm and none of the babies can be diagnosed with pathology. This can be traced in the table of pressure standards in children.

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Table of normal blood pressure in children at different ages

Child’s age Limits of systolic pressure Limits of diastolic pressure During the first year of life From 90 to 112 From 50 to 742-3 years From 100 to 112 From 60 to 743-5 years From 100 to 116 From 60 to 766-9 years From 100 to 122 From 60 to 8010-12 years From 110 to 126 From 70 up to 8213-15 years old From 110 to 136 From 70 to 86

According to this table, the age periods are highlighted when the result significantly fluctuates within the normal range. For example, at 10 years old, the lower systolic limit is 110 units, but already at 12 years old this figure may even exceed the “gold standard” in adults. You should not be afraid of this – such leaps are due to physiological changes in the child’s body.

Deviations from the norm: is there any reason for alarm

Children, like adults, are also susceptible to various influences of destabilizing factors that can provoke results beyond the normal range. If the parents measure the child’s blood pressure and know his norm, then if the baby is feeling unwell, the next diagnostic procedure can seriously alarm adults – blood pressure either increased or decreased.

You need to understand that there are good reasons for the appearance of deviations, which led to non-standard numbers on the pressure gauge. One should not be surprised at one-stage pressure surges in adolescents – in girls from the age of 10 and over a two-year period, the results of blood pressure are dictated by hormonal changes, so sometimes its jumps can be fully justified.

For boys, this period is postponed by a year and their pressure gauge can present surprises from the age of 11 to 13 years. It is noteworthy that the very next day in children at this age, the blood pressure rate is restored, and deviations may not appear for a long time. In this case, you should not worry about the results – they will return to normal as soon as the hormonal background stabilizes.

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The reasons for the increase in pressure

If the pressure is elevated and normalizes over several measurements at rest for several days in a row, you need to pay attention to the reasons for this condition. Among them, doctors note the following:

  • improper daily routine, lack of sleep and rest,
  • severe stress, psychological stress,
  • increased physical activity.

Having analyzed the possible causes and eliminating them, you can achieve normal performance in the child. For example, if a baby suffers from frequent pressure drops at 7 or 8 years old, it is worth reducing the load at school – most often, this factor contributes to the deviation of blood pressure from the norm. If, after eliminating the cause, the results returned to normal, and the child does not complain about feeling unwell, then you should not worry.

With persistently elevated blood pressure, there is a danger of damage to the centers of the brain, the development of kidney pathologies, problems with vascular tone, poisoning with potent chemicals, problems with the activity of the thyroid gland.

Causes of pressure drop

The pressure can deviate not only upward and downward. Low blood pressure leads to lethargy, drowsiness. The reason for this condition may be:

  • mental strain and stress,
  • birth trauma (intrauterine hypoxia),
  • lack of physical activity or its excess,
  • adaptation to climate change,
  • frequent colds, infectious diseases,
  • hormonal changes.

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Low blood pressure should be taken no less seriously than high blood pressure. It often provokes fainting, visual hallucinations, and other disturbances. A decrease in blood pressure at 16-17 years old can be caused both by harmless factors – mental strain in the last grades at school, and more serious reasons – the use of psychotropic drugs, early pregnancy, etc. It is important for parents to monitor the health of a teenager in order to respond to alarm signals in time.

How to get correct blood pressure data from a child

It is best to control the blood pressure figures in a child for parents who are constantly with him. During a series of preventive measurements, they already know the normal pressure in the baby and, if alarming symptoms appear, they can take new measurements to see deviations.

In order to get correct data, parents need to know how to measure this indicator. It’s good if there is a notebook where the result of measuring blood pressure and heart rate fits. Healthy children can enter data with preventive measurements, and for children with abnormalities in the work of the cardiovascular system, doctors will recommend their own schedule for monitoring this indicator.

It is very simple to make measurements correctly for children of different ages. It is best to use a manual pressure apparatus for this procedure, which gives the most accurate data. Electronic devices can sin with dead batteries, show incorrect data after blows, etc.

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Pressure measurement technique

To measure the pressure of the child, it is necessary to sit at the table and apply the cuff so that the head of the stethoscope falls on the vessel at the elbow. There are special cuffs for children of different ages: with a width of 3 cm – for babies up to one year old, from 1 year to three – 5 cm, from 4 to 7 – 8 cm, from 8 to 10 – 9 cm, from 13 years old you can measure the pressure with cuffs for adults. The cuff is not pulled tightly, ideally there should be a distance of two fingers between the child’s hand and the cuff. The child needs to completely relax, with his back leaning against the back of the chair, and his hand should be on the table, bent at an angle of 90 degrees. Feet should be on the floor freely.

When pumping air into the cuff, the arrow should reach a maximum of 20 points above the intended mark. You need to pump air with quick rhythmic movements, otherwise the result will have errors. The air intake in the pear is closed. For example, if a 10-year-old child should have a normal mark of 120 to 80, then it is necessary to pump up to 140. Then the air in the pear is gradually released by unscrewing the retainer, and carefully observe the following indicators:

  • the appearance of a distinct knock in the phonendoscope,
  • twitching of the arrow on the pressure gauge.

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Ideally, the two are the same. When knocking and twitching of the arrow appear, systolic pressure is recorded, i.e. upper bound. When the knock disappears and the arrow stops twitching, smoothly dropping down, then from this moment diastolic pressure is noted, i.e. bottom line.

Given that children’s pressure is subject to various destabilizing factors, it is possible to repeat measurements in case of inadequate values ​​in 5 minutes. Perhaps the child was nervous and because of this, the indicator became too high. Usually, such flaws are eliminated by 3-4 measurements with a five-minute interval, which makes it possible to find out a reliable result. If the measurement results persist in showing alarming data, you should consult your doctor.

Monitoring blood pressure in children is extremely important. Knowing the rate of pressure by age, parents can monitor the results obtained and respond in a timely manner to any changes. At the same time, doctors advise not to bring the procedure to fanaticism, putting it on a par with brushing your teeth at night. If the baby is active, healthy and does not complain about his health, then it is not necessary to measure blood pressure too often.

Svetlana Borszavich

General practitioner, cardiologist, with active work in therapy, gastroenterology, cardiology, rheumatology, immunology with allergology.
Fluent in general clinical methods for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, as well as electrocardiography, echocardiography, monitoring of cholera on an ECG and daily monitoring of blood pressure.
The treatment complex developed by the author significantly helps with cerebrovascular injuries and metabolic disorders in the brain and vascular diseases: hypertension and complications caused by diabetes.
The author is a member of the European Society of Therapists, a regular participant in scientific conferences and congresses in the field of cardiology and general medicine. She has repeatedly participated in a research program at a private university in Japan in the field of reconstructive medicine.