As with adults, a child's blood pressure can be either too high (hypertension) or too low (hypotension). Regular blood pressure measurements are therefore also of great importance in children.
What are normal values for a child's blood pressure?
The table below provides an overview of the upper limit of normal values for blood pressure in children by age (between 6 and 12 years). Keep in mind that blood pressure can be influenced by various factors such as age, height and gender.
High blood pressure in children
The diagnosis of high blood pressure is different in children than in adults. In adults, one speaks of hypertension when the blood pressure is higher than 140/90, while in children it must be compared with a norm group and the blood pressure value must be higher than 95% of this norm group.
In young children, high blood pressure is often due to underlying diseases, such as a heart defect, while in older children, obesity and heredity are mainly seen as the cause.
Research has shown that children's blood pressure is affected from an early age by exercise and screen time. High blood pressure was mainly found in children who sat in front of a screen for more than 2 hours a day and children who exercised less than 1 hour a day.
The treatment of this type of hypertension is often through advice to change the child's lifestyle (mainly more physical activity and healthier diet). If no improvement is seen at the next check-up, it is possible that a pediatrician will prescribe medication.
Low blood pressure in children
The cause of low blood pressure is often unclear. In diseases such as gastrointestinal infections where fever, vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, low blood pressure can be noticed as a result.
It is therefore important to ensure that a child receives sufficient fluids in case of illness, as well as in situations where it sweats a lot, such as on hot days and during physical exertion.