Original Article

Pediatric Nephrology

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 527-532

First online:

Childhood hypertension is not a silent disease

  • Beth CroixAffiliated withRenal Section, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital
  • , Daniel I. FeigAffiliated withRenal Section, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s HospitalPediatric Hypertension Clinics Renal Section, Department of Pediatrics, MC3-2482, Baylor College of Medicine Email author 

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Early hypertension has generally been considered to be an asymptomatic condition; however, recent data show that many hypertensive children have evidence of end organ damage. We sought to determine if a spectrum of common symptoms is associated with early hypertension and whether those symptoms resolve with lowered blood pressure. Four hundred and nine consecutive children, 7–18 years old, examined in the Texas Children’s Hospital Hypertension Clinic for new-onset high blood pressure (BP) completed a questionnaire, including the self-reporting of 15 symptoms potentially attributed to high blood pressure. Subjects received anti-hypertensive treatment and repeated the questionnaire 4–6 months after initiation of therapy. One-hundred fifty healthy, normotensive children completed the questionnaire as controls. Of hypertensive children, 64% were symptomatic, compared with 26% of normotensive children (P<0.001). Fifty-one percent of hypertensive children reported 1–4 symptoms, 14% >4 symptoms. Following treatment only 28% of children remained symptomatic. The three most common symptoms in hypertensive patients, headache, 42%, difficulty initiating sleep, 27%, and daytime tiredness, 26%, were markedly reduced with treatment, to 6.2%, 1.5% and 10%, respectively (P<0.001). We conclude that newly diagnosed hypertensive children had a variety of non-specific symptoms, more prevalent than those of normotensive children, and most somatic complaints improved with 4–6 months of anti-hypertensive treatment.


Hypertension Children Adolescents Clinical research Retrospective study