Hypertension in Children and Adolescents: Epidemiology and Pathogenesis
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Raj, M. & Krishnakumar, R. Indian J Pediatr (2013) 80(Suppl 1): 71. doi:10.1007/s12098-012-0851-4
- 1.1k Downloads
High blood pressure is one among the leading contributors to burden of disease globally. Approximately 54 % of stroke and 47 % of ischemic heart disease events worldwide were attributable to high blood pressure in the year 2001. There is deficiency of data on the long-term outcome of hypertension in children. In spite of this, there is sufficient evidence to suspect that the health risks of hypertension in pediatric patients are substantial. Hypertension in childhood is known to result in hypertension in young adulthood. The epidemiology of hypertension in children is well represented from various studies conducted across continents. Factors like methodological issues in measurement, socio demographic differences, adiposity levels and ethnicity appear to influence the distribution of blood pressure as well as prevalence of hypertension in children. The etio-pathogenesis of essential (primary) hypertension is multi-factorial in origin. Obesity, insulin resistance, activation of sympathetic nervous system, alterations in sodium homeostasis, renin-angiotensin system changes, changes in vascular smooth muscle structure and reactivity, high serum uric acid levels, genetic factors and fetal programming have been reported to contribute to this disorder. The causes of secondary hypertension vary with age. Renal disorders and coarctation of the aorta are the most common causes of hypertension in children up to age 6 y. In older children, renal parenchymal disease remains the most frequent cause of increased blood pressure. Other causes of hypertension in children are relatively rare and include systemic arteritis and certain tumours, endocrine dysfunction, and neurologic disorders.