Surprise! Your Child’s Blood Pressure Should Be Checked

You know that it’s important to check your blood pressure. You might check it at the gym while you’re working out, at the grocery store when you’re waiting to get your prescriptions filled, and every time you go to the doctor. You don’t want to have issues with high blood pressure sneaking up on you, so you remain diligent, and check it regularly. But what about your children?

You might keep a close eye on your own blood pressure, but parents often don’t realize that’s kids’ blood pressure also needs to be monitored. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute both recommend that kids have their blood pressure checked each year from age 3 up.

High blood pressure is not common among children, but when it shows up it can be a sign of a more serious problem.

There are issues with taking kids’ blood pressure that don’t come up with adults. For example, crying or throwing a tantrum will definitely cause blood pressure to go up. You probably don’t have a problem avoiding that when your blood pressure is taken, but you may have to make an effort to help your child stay calm during blood pressure testing. You can hold your little one while the measurements are done, and you might want to let a toddler play with a stuffed animal, pretending to take the toy’s blood pressure, before your child’s appointment.

Aside from helping your child feel calm about the procedure, you don’t need to make any special preparations for blood pressure testing at your child’s check up. However, you might want to check on some information. For example, it would be good to know if you have a family history of high blood pressure. Your health professional may also ask about your child’s habits when it comes to eating and activity. It can be easier to answer those questions when you’ve thought about them first.

The health care professionals at the Northwest Arkansas Pediatric Clinic can answer any questions you might have, and provide well child check ups for your children.