The single most highest contributor to the world’s disease burden is hypertension. A large majority of patients with hypertension suffer from primary hypertension, which has an unknown cause. The remaining patients have secondary hypertension, a condition where an underlying disease is responsible for the elevated blood pressure (BP).
What is it?
Secondary hypertension is a result of other medical conditions. It can develop if you have a kidney, heart, artery, or endocrine disease.
Treating secondary hypertension involves the treatment of the high blood pressure and well as the underlying condition, which may reduce the risk of severe complications — including heart disease, kidney failure and stroke.
Some of the following conditions may point towards secondary hypertension:
- High blood pressure, which does not respond to blood pressure medicines (resistant hypertension) including those medicines that were used earlier to control the hypertension.
- Very high blood pressure — systolic over 180 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or diastolic blood pressure over 120 mm Hg
- Sudden-onset high blood pressure before the age of 30 years or after the age of 55 years.
Secondary hypertension is also likely when there is elevated blood pressure without a family history of high blood pressure or obesity.
Secondary Hypertension: Symptoms and Causes
There are many causes:
Renal: Injuries to the kidney or narrowing of its arteries can result in poor blood flow. It can lead to increased production of a hormone called renin, which can increase blood pressure.
Medical conditions may include:
- Cushing syndrome: Either the corticosteroid medications for this condition may cause secondary hypertension, it is caused by a pituitary tumor or anything that makes the adrenal glands produce too much of cortisol hormone.
- Aldosteronism: The adrenal glands produces too much of aldosterone hormone
- Pheochromocytoma: Usually found in an adrenal gland, this rare tumor produces too much of the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline, which raises the BP
- Thyroid problems, both hyper and hypothyroidism
- Hyperparathyroidism. Excess parathyroid hormone, causes the amount of calcium in your blood to rise , which causes increase in blood pressure.
Other possible causes of secondary hypertension include:
- Coarctation of the aorta
- Sleep apnea
- Medicines and supplements: Many prescription medicines like birth control pills, over-the-counter decongestants, antidepressants, pain relievers and some herbal supplements, including illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine, also increase blood pressure.
You should get your blood pressure checked more often if you experience severe headaches or nosebleeds. You should consult a doctor right away if your chest hurts, your breathing gets short, or your vision is getting blurred.
How to Prevent?
Lifestyle changes and awareness of potential medication side effects are two ways to prevent this condition. It is recommended that you
- Make dietary choices that are low in sodium
- Do regular exercise
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Drink alcohol and smoking in moderation or avoid it completely
- Avoid illegal drugs
- Take annual checks and screen yourself regularly for diseases
Secondary Hypertension Treatment
It is vital to detect a secondary cause of hypertension since it may help change an incurable condition into a curable one. Secondary hypertension lasts as long as the secondary condition persists. Most people can have their secondary hypertension cured by treating the underlying medical condition.
Managing it involves controlling blood pressure with antihypertensive drugs and dealing with the underlying causes mentioned above.
By identifying and treating early on, we improve patient outcomes, reduce health expenditures associated with drug costs, and prevent damage to target organs.
Secondary hypertension is elevated blood pressure that is caused by another medical condition or disease. In hypertensive patients, secondary hypertension occurs in 5–10% of cases. It may be caused by kidney disease, adrenal disease, thyroid disease, and obstructive sleep apnea.
It may also be drug-induced or due to pregnancy. A potentially reversible cause of hypertension should be detected and treated early to prevent irreversible changes in the systemic vasculature that may cause unfavorable long-term consequences.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Secondary Hypertension be cured?
Secondary hypertension can get cured based on whether the causes are reversible or not.
Difference between Secondary Hypertension and Primary Hypertension
It is estimated that in 95% of patients with high blood pressure there is no underlying cause. It is referred to as essential or primary hypertension. If the hypertension is due to an underlying disease or condition, the condition is known as secondary hypertension.
Can pregnancy cause Secondary Hypertension?
Yes. The hypertension may also cause complications in the delivery or in the baby.