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Pediatric Hypertension, Target Organ Damage at Childhood, and Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease at Adulthood

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Hypertension is fairly frequent in children and adolescents. Most cases are related to primary hypertension, often in the context of overweight, but secondary hypertension is not uncommon at this young age. Evidence suggests that pediatric hypertension increases risk of target organ damage. Furthermore, ...

Hypertension is fairly frequent in children and adolescents. Most cases are related to primary hypertension, often in the context of overweight, but secondary hypertension is not uncommon at this young age. Evidence suggests that pediatric hypertension increases risk of target organ damage. Furthermore, childhood hypertension tends to track into adulthood and is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Several medical organizations have recommended to measure blood pressure in children from 3 years of age, yet blood pressure is not frequently measured and diagnosis in clinical pediatric practice. However, because the absolute risk of hypertension related diseases is very low in children and the benefit of pharmacological treatment is not firmly demonstrated in children (healthy lifestyle and nutrition are warranted irrespective of BP status), the US Preventive Services Task Force found that there is no sufficient evidence to recommend for or against hypertension screening in childhood.

The series of papers will examine the effect of childhood hypertension on short-term risk of target organ damage at childhood and long-term risk of adult hypertension and subclinical cardiovascular disease (including high cIMT, arterial stiffness, LVH, etc), and provide more insight on whether blood pressure is best assessed through all (universal) or targeted screening (e.g., obese, with family history, etc.) in children and adolescents in order to prevent and reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases later in life.


Keywords: Pediatric hypertension, target organ damage at childhood, and subclinical cardiovascular disease at adulthood


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