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Adolescent Blood Pressure

Introduction

It is important you check your BP each time you visit your doctor. As you grow older, high BP could cause:

  • A heart attack
  • A stroke
  • Kidney failure
  • Blindness

You may feel well and not realize you have high blood pressure until you have it checked. When it is high, it could also mean you have an illness in some other parts of your body (kidneys or glands). Your doctor will do further tests to see if this is so.

How can you get this test done?

  • A piece of cloth (cuff) will be wrapped around your upper arm. This is connected to a device called a sphygmomanometer
  • The cuff will be inflated and you will feel a slight tightening around your arm. Your nurse or doctor will then listen over your arm to determine your blood pressure as the cuff is deflated
  • There are also automatic blood pressure measuring machines. They will automatically inflate and deflate the cuff
  • Your blood pressure readings will appear on a screen in a few seconds

Where can you get it tested?

You can get the test done at:

  • Your family doctor’s clinic
  • Any government polyclinic or health centre
  • A pharmacy
  • A hospital

What does your result mean?

e.g.
115
mmHg
75

Your result will be given as two values:

  • The upper figure is called systolic pressure
  • The lower figure is called diastolic pressure

These readings are stated as millimeters of mercury or mmHg in short. (The height of the mercury column on a sphygmomanometer). Blood pressure depends on:

  • How much blood your heart pumps
  • How narrow your arteries are (resistance)

The more blood is pumped and the narrower your arteries, the higher will be your blood pressure.

  • Systolic refers to the pressure in your arteries as your heart pumps (e.g.115 mmHg)
  • Diastolic refers to the pressure in your arteries as your heart rests in between its pumping (e.g. 75 mmHg)

What is a high level?

The high level range will depend on your:

  • Age
  • Height
  • Whether you are a boy or a girl

Older and taller kids have a higher range. For your age generally a systolic pressure above 125 mmHg and a diastolic pressure above 80 mmHg will need a doctor’s advice.

 

What do you do to prevent high blood pressure?

Practicing a healthy life style can reduce your blood pressure.

  • Reduce salty food
  • weight if you are overweight
  • Give up smoking
  • Manage stress
  • Start a regular exercise program

Blood pressure levels can change at different times and on different days. A high reading generally means you need to have it checked more often and consult your doctor. If your BP is truly high it needs investigation and treatment from your doctor.

 

Last Reviewed : 27 April 2012
Content Writer : Dr. Kauthaman a/l Mahendran
Reviewer : Dr. Thiyagar Nadarajaw