19.5.06

Hypertension in Children and Adolescents

GREGORY B. LUMA, M.D., and ROSEANN T. SPIOTTA, M.D., Jamaica Hospital Medical CenterFamily Medicine Residency Program, New York, New York
The development of a national database on normative blood pressure levels throughout childhood has contributed to the recognition of elevated blood pressure in children and adolescents. The epidemic of childhood obesity, the risk of developing left ventricular hypertrophy, and evidence of the early development of atherosclerosis in children would make the detection of and intervention in childhood hypertension important to reduce long-term health risks; however, supporting data are lacking. Secondary hypertension is more common in preadolescent children, with most cases caused by renal disease. Primary or essential hypertension is more common in adolescents and has multiple risk factors, including obesity and a family history of hypertension. Evaluation involves a thorough history and physical examination, laboratory tests, and specialized studies. Management is multifaceted. Nonpharmacologic treatments include weight reduction, exercise, and dietary modifications. Recommendations for pharmacologic treatment are based on symptomatic hypertension, evidence of end-organ damage, stage 2 hypertension, stage 1 hypertension unresponsive to lifestyle modifications, and hypertension with diabetes mellitus. (Am Fam Physician 2006;73:1158-68. Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Family Physicians.)