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Secondary High Blood Pressure

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

Secondary high blood pressure is high blood pressure that is caused by another disease or condition. It can also be caused by certain medicines.

If your doctor can treat the cause of the high blood pressure, it might lower your blood pressure.

Secondary high blood pressure is not common. The risk of secondary high blood pressure is higher in children than in adults.

What causes secondary high blood pressure?

Causes of secondary high blood pressure include:

Hormone problems that can cause secondary high blood pressure include hyperaldosteronism and thyroid problems. These types of conditions can raise blood pressure because hormones play a big role in controlling your blood pressure. They send messages controlling your heart's output of blood, the stiffness of your arteries, and changes in your blood volume. For example, your body releases certain hormones (such as adrenaline) when it is under stress and needs more blood and oxygen.

If your renal arteries become narrowed from atherosclerosis (renal artery stenosis), less blood flows to the kidneys, which causes blood pressure to rise. This problem happens because your kidneys are essential for blood pressure control. As blood passes through your kidneys, special cells "measure" blood pressure in the blood vessels leading to your kidneys (renal arteries) and adjust the amount of the hormone renin that they secrete. Renin controls the production of two other hormones, angiotensin and aldosterone. And these hormones control the width of your arteries and how much water and salt is moved out of the body. Both of these affect blood pressure.

How is it diagnosed?

If your doctor thinks that you may have secondary high blood pressure, you may need tests to diagnose other health problems. Your doctor will also check the medicines that you take, because some medicines can cause high blood pressure as a side effect.

Your doctor may suspect that you have secondary high blood pressure if you have certain signs, such as:

How is it treated?

Secondary high blood pressure is typically treated by treating the cause of the high blood pressure. Your treatment depends on what is causing your high blood pressure and whether the high blood pressure should be lowered as soon as possible to prevent problems.

If a health problem is the cause, this high blood pressure may return to normal when the other health problem is treated. But treating the condition that has caused your secondary high blood pressure will not always lower blood pressure back to a normal level. In this case, you may need to treat the high blood pressure too.

If a medicine is the cause, this high blood pressure may return to normal if the medicine is stopped or the dose is adjusted.


References

Other Works Consulted


Credits for Secondary High Blood Pressure

Current as of: April 29, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD - Cardiology


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