When you think of someone with blood pressure problems, you may envision your parents or grandparents, but believe it or not, around one in 25 teenagers have high blood pressure, according to the website KidsHealth from Nemours. So, it's important to know if your 13- to 15-year-old has normal blood pressure.
What the Numbers Mean
Blood pressure is simply the pressure at which your blood presses against your blood vessel walls when your heart pumps. The top number measured is systolic pressure, which is the pressure at the peak of each time your heart beats. Diastolic pressure is the bottom number and represents the amount of pressure exerted between heart beats, while your heart is at rest.
Normal Blood Pressure
Normal blood pressure for a 13- to 15-year-old is a reading that is lower than the 95th percentile for the teen's same age, gender and height, according to the TeensHealth website. If your teen has blood pressure between the 90th and 95th percentile, it's considered borderline hypertension. For example, if your teen boy is 14 and in the 50th percentile for height, his normal blood pressure range is around 111 to 128 systolic and 63 to 82 diastolic, according to the blood pressure chart for children, listed on the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute website. Normal blood pressure for a 15-year-old girl, in the 75th percentile for height, would be about 111 to 129 systolic and 66 to 84 diastolic.
Factors Affecting the Numbers
Blood pressure changes constantly, whether you're at rest or being active. It is also affected by various other factors, including your size, emotional state, diet, posture, the temperature you're in and the medications you are taking, the KidsHealth website says.
Hypertension risk factors include: a family history of being overweight, being overweight or obese, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Teens with high blood pressure are at risk for heart damage, since this condition tends to follow kids into adulthood, WebMD warns.
Keeping Your Teen Healthy
Continue taking your teen to the pediatrician for well visits annually. These checkups usually include taking height and weight, checking blood pressure and listening to the heart. If your teen exhibits any symptoms of hypertension, such as headaches or dizziness, check her blood pressure or take her for a visit sooner.
Help your teen to live healthy, so she'll have normal blood pressure. Encourage her to eat a nutritious diet and get plenty of exercise, suggests HealthyChildren.org, the American Academy of Pediatrics' website. Also talk to your teen about the dangers or drugs and alcohol.