low blood pressue - too low or bad reading?
May 5, 2004 12:44 PM   Subscribe

They had a blood drive at my daughter's high school today. She just came home and informed me her blood pressure was 64 over 40 when they took it-and that her sister's was 70 over something or other. Mine is 100 over 60, and that's low enough-do I need to rush these kids to a doctor, or was the person taking the blood pressure in need of a job change?
posted by konolia to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
Did they let them give blood? If yes, I would assume there's something lost in translation and not worry about it. If no, I would chat with the doctor. The blood donor rules are pretty clear about requiring people to be within normal standards, whatever those are.
posted by dness2 at 12:59 PM on May 5, 2004

My dad and my girlfriend both typically have blood pressure in that range. You could talk with their pediatrician, but unless they get dizzy from standing up too fast, there's probably nothing wrong. (IANAD.)
posted by me3dia at 1:06 PM on May 5, 2004

No, they didn't let them give blood.

I forgot to mention that they are around 5'6-5'7 in height. I'm only five feet tall myself-I don't know if height makes a difference in this sort of thing. Their brother who is 5' 10 or so had a pressure of around 100 over 60.
posted by konolia at 2:57 PM on May 5, 2004

FWIW, I've found blood pressure checks at my donation center to be ridiculously inaccurate -- they're very different every time I'm in there. As dness2 said, they just want to make sure you're not totally abnormal.

If you're at all concerned, though, I'd advise scheduling a checkup with a doctor, or maybe having a school nurse check them out. Can't be too careful
posted by jeffmshaw at 3:27 PM on May 5, 2004

If nothing else, take 'em to a pharmacy that has one of those free BP check stations.
posted by mischief at 3:32 PM on May 5, 2004

konolia - wait ten or twenty years. It'll go up. Blood pressure inevitably increases with age (your kids are lucky) - except, in one odd exception to the rule : a small island (off the coast of Costa Rica or thereabouts) where the water has been funky for decades at least.

The people don't drink it without boiling it first, and then they add cacao. Large doses, apparently, lower blood pressure. But this is high quality stuff, and very concentrated - you wouldn't get the same effect merely from gorging on cheap commercial chocolate.
posted by troutfishing at 3:53 PM on May 5, 2004

troutfishing, my blood pressure has been 100/60 since dinosaurs roamed the earth.

I guess I'll just go with the freak-of-nature theory (and meanwhile have them tested again.)
posted by konolia at 4:21 PM on May 5, 2004

I heard this on the radio this morning. The average reading quoted in that article is quite a bit higher than the figures you quoted for your children. Hypotension is not as common as hypertension, but it's something to be concerned about.
posted by joaquim at 4:25 PM on May 5, 2004

It bears mentioning that losing a pint of blood is not something your body is going to like. If they were cleared to donate, and checked afterward, I'd relax. But they shouldn't be climbing ladders or riding bikes for the rest of the day. Rest and a good meal is what they need.
posted by scarabic at 5:04 PM on May 5, 2004

Duh. Sorry. I think I need some rest and a good meal myself.
posted by scarabic at 5:06 PM on May 5, 2004

Neither of them donated (It is my experience that mobile blood units are pickier about donations than the centers themselves. I have given blood a few times but always wind up almost blacking out, getting sick to my stomach and having to stay longer and drink extra juice and stuff. I no longer give blood because for me it is simply too unpleasant. My husband on the other hand could siphon off a pint in no time and go on his merry way. I am the exception and not the rule, apparently.)
posted by konolia at 5:10 PM on May 5, 2004

Anemia can cause low blood pressure and is very common in high school aged girls. A multi-vitamin with iron is helpful, but the condition is something that should be monitored by a doctor. Not urgent, but a check-up with blood work is probably in order.

Also, they probably shouldn't even try to donate blood. I worked in blood donation centers for years and noticed that people who have chronically low blood pressure generally don't respond well to donation.
posted by kamikazegopher at 5:14 PM on May 5, 2004

my blood pressure has been 100/60 since dinosaurs roamed the earth.

AHA! That explains the footprints!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:58 PM on May 5, 2004

it also matters the cuff size - a smaller cuff on a larger arm tends to produce higher BP readings (I had a buddy with legitimately 20" arms - he had to be measured with a leg cuff). I'd assume that a skinny girl would have an inverse problem.
posted by filmgeek at 8:55 PM on May 5, 2004

a school nurse can do this, might as well.
posted by rhyax at 10:38 PM on May 5, 2004

Yeah. Only the school nurses here are like circuit riders....they have probably at least five schools apiece to cover or something like that. There is less than a month of school left-my senior has less than that. I have a nurse friend that I will see tonight at choir practice-coincidentally she used to be a school nurse. I will ask her.
posted by konolia at 9:33 AM on May 6, 2004

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