Assess your risk for secondary hypertension

secondary hypertension High blood pressure caused by another disease. Several problems affecting the kidneys, endocrine The system and blood vessels can cause secondary hypertension. High blood pressure in young adults or very sudden or severe high blood pressure may indicate secondary hypertension.

This article discusses the causes, evaluation, and treatment of secondary hypertension.

Primary and secondary hypertension

Essential hypertension, also known as essential hypertension, is defined as high blood pressure that is not caused by an underlying disease. This is the most common form of high blood pressure. It is responsible for 90% of cases.

Genetic, aging and lifestyle factors such as diet and sedentary An (inactive) lifestyle can lead to essential hypertension.

On the other hand, secondary hypertension is high blood pressure caused directly by another disease. Hypertension should suspect secondary hypertension:

  • sudden onset or worsening
  • Diagnosed at a young age
  • Not controlled by multiple drugs
  • have certain characteristics that indicate an underlying cause

What is considered high blood pressure?

Hypertension is usually defined as blood pressure with multiple readings above 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mmHg). Depending on whether it is directly caused by another condition, it can be classified as primary or secondary.

Risk factors for high blood pressure include:

  • genetics
  • age
  • sedentary lifestyle
  • dietary patterns such as high salt intake, smoking, diabetes and obesity

Anyone with elevated blood pressure should be monitored by a healthcare provider for treatment. People with very high readings for accompanying symptoms, such as severe headache or confusion, and people with chest pain or weakness on the face or side of the body should seek immediate medical attention.

Causes of Secondary Hypertension

renovascular hypertension

The renal arteries are two arteries from the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The renal arteries carry blood to each kidney.When these arteries are blocked, the kidneys receive less blood flow and secrete hormones Renin.

Renin ultimately increases blood pressure by affecting sodium, fluid retention, and vascular behavior. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAA) system.

most renal artery stenosis it’s because of atherosclerosis (accumulation cholesterol plaquein the renal artery).

Risk factors for atherosclerosis include:

  • High cholesterol
  • smokes
  • diabetes

Some people with renal artery stenosis, such as those with heart complications or inability to control blood pressure with multiple medications, may consider renal artery stenting.

Another cause of blocked blood flow to the kidneys is Fibromuscular dysplasia. This condition is more common in young and middle-aged women and can also affect other arteries in the body. In fibromuscular dysplasia, the arterial walls are structurally abnormal, leading to narrowing (narrow), zoom in (Aneurysm) and even tears (anatomy).

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Drugs that control blood pressure can treat fibromuscular dysplasia of the renal arteries.More serious cases may require Angioplastya procedure that uses a balloon to open narrowed blood vessels.

kidney disease

kidney problems that affect their filtering system and small blood vessels, called kidneys substance Disease is one of the most common causes of secondary hypertension.

Kidney disease can have many causes and affects people of all ages.Kidney disease through improper handling of fluids and electrolyteand by activating the RAA system.

Treatment for kidney disease includes:

  • Treat the underlying cause
  • Prevent kidney disease progression
  • Limit sodium and fluid intake
  • blood pressure medication
  • dialysis or kidney (kidney) transplant (in severe cases)


Hyperaldosteronism is an often overlooked cause of secondary hypertension.

Aldosterone is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that plays a role in sodium and fluid retention. Excessive aldosterone levels can be caused by overactive adrenal cells or tumors. Aldosterone causes the kidneys to retain salt and fluid, which increases blood volume and blood pressure.

Signs of hyperaldosteronism include high sodium and low potassium levels in the blood.

aldosterone antagonists, such as Lactone (spironolactone), which treats hyperaldosteronism. If hyperaldosteronism is caused by a tumor, it can be cured by surgical removal.

obstructive sleep apnea

obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes high blood pressure through effects on the lungs and heart. During sleep, people with OSA experience airway obstruction, including snoring, gasping, and apnea. This activates the sympathetic nervous system, which increases blood pressure.

Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed by sleep studies. It is treated with a dental appliance or continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which you wear a mask that provides a steady flow of oxygen during sleep.

Treat sleep apnea

While this link is still being studied, it appears that treating sleep apnea may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. Despite these unclear effects on blood pressure, treating sleep apnea has been shown to improve sleep and quality of life.

Drug and Substance Use

Certain medications can cause secondary high blood pressure. Consider having a healthcare provider check any medications you are taking to see if they can worsen high blood pressure.

Some medications that increase blood pressure include:

  • Oral contraceptives (contraception)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil or Mortin (ibuprofen) and Aleph (naproxen)
  • Some antidepressants such as Effects (Venlafaxine)
  • herbal products such as ephedra and licorice etc.
  • Some immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine and Tacrolimus

alcohol and drugs such as cocaine, AmphetaminesAnd anabolic steroids, which also raise blood pressure.

Thyroid disease

Both an overactive and an underactive thyroid can lead to high blood pressure. Although thyroid disorders are common, they are not a common cause of secondary hypertension.

Consider getting your thyroid checked if you have high blood pressure and other signs of thyroid dysfunction, such as changes in energy levels, hair, and nails.


Pheochromocytoma is a rare adrenal tumor that releases Catecholamines.

Catecholamines, the stress hormones responsible for the fight-or-flight response, can affect other parts of the body, including increased blood pressure. People with pheochromocytoma experience intermittently elevated blood pressure, headaches, and nervousness.

Urine and laboratory tests can confirm elevated catecholamine levels to diagnose pheochromocytoma, while imaging tests can locate the tumor. Treatment consists of removing the tumor with surgery.

Coarctation of the aorta

Coarctation of the aorta It is a congenital abnormality in which the main blood vessels in the body are narrowed. Severe strictures may be the cause of high blood pressure in children, while milder strictures may not be detected until adulthood.

People with coarctation of the aorta may also have heart abnormalities such as ventricular septal defect (a hole in the wall separating the two chambers) or mitral aortic valvewhere the aortic valve has only two cusps instead of three.

Coarctation of the aorta should be suspected in any young person with high blood pressure. It can be treated with surgery or less invasive treatments. However, the stenosis may come back and the high blood pressure may not go away.

Other endocrine diseases

Some rare endocrine disorders can cause secondary hypertension, including:

  • Acromegaly
  • basic Hyperparathyroidism
  • congenital adrenal hyperplasia
  • Cushing’s syndrome

These disorders are diagnosed through laboratory tests, which may include hormone stimulation tests and imaging tests. Treatment varies depending on the specific underlying cause. Medications and surgery may be required.

Diagnosis of secondary hypertension

If you had high blood pressure at a young age, had a flare-up, or needed multiple medications to control your blood pressure, your healthcare provider may suspect secondary high blood pressure.

The evaluation first involves a physical examination with a health care provider, who will also take a complete medical history. You will be asked about your:

  • symptom
  • drug
  • Substance use
  • family history

The physical examination will include palpating (checking by touch) your pulse and listening to your heart and lungs.

Laboratory work will be performed after the medical examination. Blood and urine tests can show the presence of kidney disease and hormonal problems.

Diagnosis will be based on the results of these tests. For example, if potassium levels are low, you may need more lab work and imaging tests to evaluate your hyperaldosteronism. If you have abnormal kidney function, your provider may need to do an ultrasound of your kidneys and renal arteries.

Treatment and Management

Treatment of secondary hypertension includes treating the underlying cause.

In some cases, medication alone can help treat secondary high blood pressure. For example, some people with hyperaldosteronism may only need to take a specific drug called an aldosterone antagonist to see a significant improvement in blood pressure.

Other conditions may require medical procedures. For example, surgery is required to remove tumors in patients with pheochromocytoma. Some people with renal artery stenosis whose blood pressure does not respond to multiple medications may be considered for renal artery stenting, which involves placing a tube in the body to help open blood vessels leading to the kidneys.

Continuous monitoring

Regardless of the cause of secondary hypertension, it is always important to follow up with your healthcare provider regularly to continue monitoring blood pressure and underlying conditions in cases of secondary hypertension.


Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure caused by another disease. Careful evaluation is required to determine the cause. This evaluation includes a medical history and physical examination, laboratory tests, and sometimes imaging tests. In many cases, treating the underlying problem will improve blood pressure.

VigorTip words

Being diagnosed with high blood pressure can be surprising, and you may wonder if other medical conditions are causing it. Your healthcare provider can help determine the possibility of secondary high blood pressure. At the same time, everyone with high blood pressure should commit to living a healthy lifestyle through exercise and a nutritious diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will secondary hypertension go away with treatment?

    Depending on the cause, successful treatment of the underlying disorder that causes secondary hypertension can normalize blood pressure. Some people may still need blood pressure medication.

  • Can secondary hypertension be prevented?

    Unfortunately, secondary hypertension is not preventable. Having secondary high blood pressure means your body is responding to another underlying problem. In many cases, high blood pressure can be resolved by diagnosing and treating the underlying problem.

  • Are the causes of secondary hypertension different in children and adults?

    Secondary hypertension in children is more common with congenital problems such as coarctation of the aorta or kidney problems such as glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys). In adults, kidney disease and endocrine problems are more common causes.