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Revista chilena de pediatría

versión impresa ISSN 0370-4106


SAIEH A, CARLOS  y  LAGOMARSINO F, EDDA. Arterial hypertension and salt intake in pediatrics. Rev. chil. pediatr. [online]. 2009, vol.80, n.1, pp.11-20. ISSN 0370-4106.

Pediatric arterial hypertension (AH) is an underdiagnosed disease, with a known prevalence of 2-3%. Its preventive management should begin early and includes life-style changes and diet salt reduction to a maximum of 5.8 g (2.3 g of sodium), since there is a direct relationship between total salt intake and arterial blood pressure. It has been previously shown that in populations with low salt diet (less than 3g), AH is rare and it does not increase with age. It has been estimated that 77% of salt found in regular diets comes from processed food. Mechanisms involved in salt intake and high blood pressure are analyzed in this paper. Arterial hypertension secondary to renal diseases and other pathologies are excluded. Considering renal physiology, the role of the kidney is crucial in arterial blood pressure regulation, through the capacity to affect the salt and water excretion; therefore, controlling total blood volume. The relationship between salt and AH in the newborn and older children, as well as genetic aspects of this disease, are discussed. In conclusion, there are biological and behavioural risk factors that can be modified in young population. It is necessary to promote these changes through active, as well as passive, prevention strategies. A government public health policy including educational publicity campaigns, permanent media information and accessible health food labelling is essential. Habits, old customs and trends need to be changed through a multifactorial approach to groups, families and community. The pediatrician should lead this effort.

Palabras clave : hypertension; blood pressure; risk factors; life-styles; salt intake.

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