Background: Arterial hypertension in children is considered a common alteration nowadays, mainly because obesity is a growing worldwide problem closely related to increased blood pressure. Childhood hypertension can be classified as primary or secondary, depending on the etiology. Primary or essential hypertension still has its pathophysiology not fully elucidated, and there is no consensus in the literature on most underlying mechanisms. In this review, genetic and environmental factors, including sodium and potassium intake, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, family structure, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, prematurity and low birth weight, prenatal and postnatal exposures are highlighted.
Objective: The present study aimed to perform an update on primary hypertension in childhood, providing clinicians and researchers an overview of the current state of the literature regarding the influence of genetic and environmental factors.
Methods: This integrative review searched for articles on genetic and environmental factors related to primary hypertension in pediatric patients. The databases evaluated were PubMed and Scopus.
Results: The studies have provided insights regarding many genetic and environmental factors, in addition to their association with the pathophysiology of primary hypertension in childhood. Findings corroborated the idea that primary hypertension is a multifactorial disease. Further studies in the pediatric population are needed to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
Conclusion: The study of primary hypertension in pediatrics has utmost importance for the adoption of preventive measures and the development of more efficient treatments, therefore reducing childhood morbidity and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and other health consequences later in life.