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Secondary Hypertension

Secondary Hypertension

What is Secondary Hypertension?

Secondary hypertension (high blood pressure) is caused by other conditions in the body. In this process, hypertension is a symptom of another underlying condition. This form of hypertension can be improved or even reversed by identifying and treating that underlying condition. Often, secondary hypertension does not respond well to common blood pressure therapies, and the blood pressure can be difficult to control without appropriate interventions. 

Symptoms that may indicate a secondary form of high blood pressure:

  • Severe or resistant hypertension
  • Sudden worsening of blood pressure when previously stable
  • Onset age less than 30 if no obesity or family history of hypertension
  • Severe worsening of hypertension with organ damage
  • Severe snoring
  • Certain electrolyte abnormalities

Major causes of secondary hypertension:

  • Primary kidney disease
  • Narrowing of the arteries to the kidneys (renovascular hypertension)
  • Overproduction of a hormone called aldosterone (aldosteronism)
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Drugs and medications:
    • Oral contraceptives
    • Non-steroidal medications (ibuprofen, naproxen)
    • Decongestants
    • Steroids
    • Several other prescription medications. including anti-rejection medications, psychiatric medications, and cancer therapies
    • Illicit drugs: methamphetamine, cocaine

Rare causes of secondary hypertension:

  • Pheochromocytoma – Rare tumors that secrete hormones that raise blood pressure.
  • Cushing’s syndrome – Disorder that occurs when the body makes too much of the hormone cortisol over a long period of time. 
  • Other hormone-related conditions – Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism.
  • Coarctation of the aorta – Abnormal formation of the aorta (the main vessel from the heart).

Your doctor can discuss your risks for secondary hypertension and tests that can be done to evaluate for this condition. Some of the conditions, if caught early, can be treated and potentially “cure” the high blood pressure. 

Contact Us

At The Kidney and Hypertension Center, we provide consultation and ongoing care for the prevention and treatment of hypertension. Schedule your appointment today

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