Clinical Presentation and Aetiology of Hypertension in Young Adults in Nnewi South East Nigeria

CU Nwaneli, EG Omejua


Background: Hypertension is known to occur in young
people. It often starts in childhood and continues in
adulthood. It is usually asymptomatic but occasionally may
cause symptoms when severe or complicated by end organ
damage. In majority of cases, no cause is found and this is
referred to as essential hypertension. However, a secondary
cause is often suspected in young people.
Objective: The objective of this study is to ascertain the
clinical presentation of hypertension in young adults and
identify secondary causes in medical out patient department
of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.
Methods: This is a retrospective study of all hypertensive
patients between 18 and 30 years of age seen at the medical
outpatient clinic over a 5-year period from August 2004 to July
2009. The records of these patients were retrieved and

Results: There were 91 patients comprising of 43 males and
48 females. The mean age at diagnosis of hypertension was
25.2 years .Headache was the most common symptom and
was seen in 20.3%. Other symptoms in order of frequency
include leg swelling, palpitation, generalized body swelling,
chest pain, blurring of vision, shortness of breath, and
dizziness. Eighteen (19.8%) patients were asymptomatic.
Secondary causes were identified in 36 (39.6%) patients. Renal
disease was the major cause of secondary hypertension and
accounted for 69% of secondary cases.
Conclusion: Hypertension occurs in young adults and may
present with non specific symptoms such as headache,
dizziness, palpitation and symptoms of the underlying
secondary cause. Renal disease appears to be responsible for
majority of the secondary hypertension.

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