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Blood pressure


Blood pressure is the pressure carried on by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels. It is measured using a stethoscope, and a sphygmomanometer and is given in two records - systolic and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure of blood against the artery walls while diastolic pressure is the pressure when the heart is resting between beats. Blood pressure readings in children, lower than 116-104 for systolic and 63-74 for diastolic, are in the realm of hypotension or low blood pressure.

In kids, height has a significant effect on blood pressure. Taller children tend to have higher blood pressure so that the normal blood pressure varies depending on a child’s age, gender and constitution.

Until recently, low blood pressure was considered a problem only for the elderly population. However The American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest that kids have their blood pressure checked frequently, beginning at three years.

Types

Hypotension can be divided in three chief categories:

  • Orthostatic, also known as a head rush, occurs when changing from a sitting or prone position to standing. This type of hypotension usually increases with age.
  • Neurally mediated hypotension (NMH) points out to a change in blood pressure while standing. This is especially common when standing for a long periods.
  • Severe hypotension or shock naturally results from a sudden and excessive loss of blood after an accident or injury.

Causes of low blood pressure

Low blood pressure takes place when blood pressure during or after a heart beat, becomes lower than usual. Symptoms may sometimes fall behind and often it does not require any treatment. However, fluctuations in blood pressure affect the brain, heart and other vital organs in the process of receiving blood supply needed for proper functioning.

Orthostatic hypotension is caused by sudden changes in posture and it is quite rare in children. Neurally mediated hypotension, however, affects youngsters if they have been standing for a long time. Dehydration, illness and certain medications may also cause a low blood pressure.

Symptoms of low blood pressure

Symptoms like dizziness, fainting, blurry vision and light-headedness may point out to hypotension. Symptoms usually disappear quickly but it is of vital importance to respond appropriately and avoid injuries. Patient should lie down immediately and rise the feet above the heart level.

Treatment and prevention

Individuals prone to low blood pressure should try to avoid triggers and treat the underlying cause of low blood pressure. For example, if the medications cause the fluctuations in blood pressure, patients should change a dosage. Extra salty diet may also help together with drinking many fluids.

It is important to slowly change body position and avoid standing for long periods. Regular blood checks at different age, starting from three years, are strongly advised.

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