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This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in: Pediatric Nephrology

Volume 25, Issue 7, July 2010, Pages 1219-1224.

The published version is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s00467-009-1200-3. Copyright © IPNA 2010.


Primary hypertension is detectable in children and adolescents and, as in adults, is associated with a positive family history of hypertension, obesity, and life-style factors. Owing to the well-established childhood obesity epidemic, the population prevalence of high blood pressure (BP) in the young is increasing. Hypertension in childhood is commonly associated with other cardiovascular risk factors as well as obesity. Although death and cardiovascular disability do not occur in hypertensive children, intermediate markers of target organ damage, such as left ventricular hypertrophy, thickening of the carotid vessel wall, retinal vascular changes, and even subtle cognitive changes, are detectable in children and adolescents with high BP. Considering the rates of verified hypertension (>3%) and pre-hypertension (>3%) in asymptomatic children and adolescents, high BP should be considered a common long-term health problem in childhood.

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