Pediatric Hypertension: A Review of Diagnosis and Treatment


Hypertension has become a significant pediatric health problem owing to the increased number of overweight children. Over the past two decades, a steep rise in the prevalence of childhood obesity has been seen.1 As the prevalence of hypertension has increased, a direct relationship between weight and systolic blood pressure (SBP) has been reported.2,3 In 2004, almost 20% of children aged 6 to 11 years were obese (body-mass index [BMI] ≥95th percentile) and slightly more than 30% were overweight or at risk of overweight (BMI ≥85th percentile).4 A recent study estimated the incidence of obesity in 35-year-olds in 2020 based on the prevalence of overweight adolescents in 2000. The investigators projected that there would be a considerable increase in obesity, which could lead to a significant increase in adult coronary heart disease.5 In addition to hypertension, obesity in children and adolescents may lead to other comorbidities, such as type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, dyslipidemia, and metabolic syndrome.6 According to recent epidemiologic studies, hypertension is currently diagnosed in approximately 5% of adolescents.7,8

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US Pharm. 2010;35(3):HS8–HS15