There are no special preparations necessary for your child's blood pressure to be checked. Your child's blood pressure will be checked as part of a routine complete physical exam or during any acute appointment when warranted.
If you have concerns about how often your child's blood pressure is being checked, talk to your child's doctor.
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be prepared for your child's appointment. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down any symptoms your child has. High blood pressure seldom has symptoms, but it is a risk factor for heart disease and other childhood illnesses.
- Write down key personal information, including a family history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke or diabetes, and any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that your child is taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Be prepared to discuss your child's diet and exercise habits.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your child's doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For high blood pressure, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What kinds of tests will my child need?
- Does he or she need any medications?
- What foods should he or she eat or avoid?
- What's an appropriate level of physical activity?
- How often do I need to schedule appointments to check my child's blood pressure?
- Should I monitor my child's blood pressure at home?
- What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
- Should my child see a specialist?
- Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing for my child?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me?
- What websites do you recommend visiting?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your child's appointment if you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Your child's doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:
Oct. 23, 2015
- Do you have a family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure or heart disease?
- What are your child's diet and exercise habits like?
- When did your child last have his or her blood pressure checked? What was the blood pressure measurement then?
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- Essouma M, et al. Hypertension prevalence, incidence and risk factors among children and adolescents in Africa: A systematic review and meta-analysis protocol. British Medical Journal Open. 2015;5:e008472.
- High blood pressure in children. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/UnderstandYourRiskforHighBloodPressure/High-Blood-Pressure-in-Children_UCM_301868_Article.jsp. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.
- The fourth report on the diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. 2004;114(suppl):555.
- Tips for parents: Ideas to help children maintain a healthy weight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/children/index.html. Accessed Oct. 4, 2015.
- Hoecker JL (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 7, 2015.