What is low blood pressure in children?

Low blood pressure or hypotension can be defined as a condition when the blood pressure is lower than normal. As a result, the heart, brain and other parts of the body are not getting enough blood to work.

Although blood pressure varies from person to person, people with low blood pressure usually have systolic blood pressure lower than 100 mmHg. The common values is lower than 90/60mmHg (systolic/ diastolic).

Low blood pressure in children is curable, but the important thing is to find out the causes of hypotension to give treatment solutions.

What are the causes of low blood pressure in children?

There are numerous factors that can cause low blood pressure or hypotension, include:

  • Dehydration: This is a condition that occurs due to an imbalance between the daily water consumption and the amount of water needed to perform basic metabolism in the body of the child. Some manifestation comes as fever, severe diarrhea, or excessive sweating. A decrease in fluid reduces the amount of blood in blood vessels and leads to hypotension.
  • Medications: Certain medications and health supplements may dilate the blood vessels and decrease the blood pressure.
  • Anemia: Anemia is another major cause of hypotension in children.
  • Adrenal insufficiency: Adrenal insufficiency is the decline of hormones cortisol and aldosterone for the functioning of the body. The reason is that the body absorbs too little salt or sodium. Children with adrenal insufficiency are susceptible to low blood pressure.
  • Change in position: Orthostatic hypotension happens due to a sudden activity in the position of the body. The common cause is a child stands up after lying down for a while. In that case, the low blood pressure lasts only for a few seconds or minutes.
  • Shock: It is a fatal condition when the blood pressure reached a minimum to sustain life. It may be due to blood flow in the circuit is too low, malfunctioning of the heart or excessive dilation of blood vessels.

Who is at risk of low blood pressure in children?

Low blood pressure or hypotension in children can occur with following factors:

  • People who take certain medications, such as alpha-blockers, have a greater risk of low blood pressure than usual.
  • Parkinson’s disease, diabetes or some heart conditions put you at a greater risk of raising low blood pressure.

What are the symptoms of low blood pressure in children?

Common signs and symptoms of low blood pressure in children such as:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness;
  • Nausea;
  • Fainting (syncope);
  • Blurred vision;
  • Cold, clammy, pale skin;
  • Lack of concentration;
  • Rapid, shallow breathing;
  • Depression;
  • Fatigue;
  • Thirst.

When to seek medical help

Seek medical help if your child experiences any signs or symptoms of hypotension because they may indicate to more-serious problems.

What are the complications of low blood pressure in children?

Low blood pressure can damage your child’s heart, brain, and other organs. Also, it can be life-threatening if not treated right away.

How is low blood pressure in children diagnosed?

To diagnose the cause of low blood pressure, normally, the pediatrician will monitor the vital symptoms like blood pressure, pulse, rate of respiration or temperature. The doctor may also advise you to take the following tests for your child:

  • X-ray of the chest and abdomen;
  • Basic metabolic panel;
  • ECG (electrocardiogram);
  • Urine;
  • Blood tests.

How is low blood pressure in children treated?

Depending on the causes, the doctor will determine the treatment method that best suited to your child. In some cases, doctors will try to solve the primary health problem – dehydration, heart failure, diabetes or hypothyroidism – rather than the low blood pressure itself.

In case low blood pressure is caused by medications, treatment will involve changing the dose of the medication or stopping it entirely.

How can I manage my low blood pressure in children?

Depending on the reason for your child low blood pressure, your child may be able to take these steps to help reduce or even prevent symptoms.

  • Use more salt. Salt can raise blood pressure, so for people with low blood pressure, this is a very good thing.
  • Drink more water, less alcohol. Alcohol can lower blood pressure, while water can prevent the dehydration and increase blood volume.
  • Follow a healthy diet. Your child should get all the nutrients he needs for good health by focusing on a variety of foods.
  • Go slowly when changing body positions. This may be able to reduce the dizziness and lightheadedness that occur with low blood pressure on standing when your child moves from a prone to a standing position.
  • Take a deep breath. Before getting out of bed in the morning, breathe deeply for few minutes and then move slowly before standing.
  • Eat small, low-carb meals. To help prevent blood pressure from dropping sharply after meals, your child should split his meal into small portions, eat them several times a day and decrease high-carbohydrate foods such as potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.
  • Drink tea with meals. This can help to temporarily raise blood pressure, but you should check with your child’s doctor to know how much your child will drink.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.

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