Blood pressure is a measurement of the force applied to the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. The pressure is determined by the force and amount of blood pumped, and the size and flexibility of the arteries. Blood pressure changes depending on activity, body temperature, diet, emotional state, posture and medicine.
The upper number or systolic pressure represents the blood pressure at its highest. The lower number, or diastolic pressure, represents the heart at rest between beats. Age, gender and height define a normal blood pressure for a child. What may be a high blood pressure reading, or hypertension, for a 4-year-old boy may be normal for a 10-year-old girl. A child's risk factors for high blood pressure depend on whether the cause is an underlying health condition or lifestyle.
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