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Pediatr Nephrol. 2006 Apr;21(4):527-32. Epub 2006 Feb 21.

Childhood hypertension is not a silent disease.

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  • 1Renal Section, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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