Secondary Hypertension Overview

Covering secondary hypertension definition, causes, symptoms, risk factors and in children.

Secondary Hypertension Definition

Affecting not more than 10 percent of all people with hypertension, secondary high blood pressure which is also less commonly known as inessential hypertension is by definition high blood pressure caused by known underlying causes. Generally the causes of hypertension in 90-95 percent of patients are unknown. This is known as essential hypertension or primary hypertension.

Under secondary high blood pressure specific treatment results in a cure. It is therefore a rare situation of hypertension being successfully cured. In general hypertension cannot be cured. It can only be controlled or effectively managed. It has been observed that inessential hypertension tend to appear suddenly as soon as the underlying cause surfaces. Ongoing home blood pressure monitoring is therefore an important consideration for early detection of raising blood pressure. In fact doctors recommend checking blood pressure measurements at least once every year.

Secondary Hypertension Causes

The causes of secondary high blood pressure are in fact the reason behind the elevated blood pressure in the first place. Doctors note that the practice of screening for secondary high blood pressure has received relatively little attention. They note that inessential hypertension screening constitutes one of the most pressing problems of today's hypertension care. Some doctors have noted that patients with essential hypertension may over a long period of time as they age develop secondary high blood pressure.

They argue that, for example, as patients age so does their vascular systems. This can become the source and cause of inessential hypertension. Treatment of underlying causes of hypertension often results in the hypertensive condition disappearing presenting the only exception under which hypertension can be cured. Underlying causes of inessential hypertension vary. These causes include disorders such as that of the adrenal gland, kidney disease which may include kidney tumor and kidney failure.

Specific medical drugs are also known to be secondary hypertension causes. These would include some birth control pills with estrogen, migraine medications such as Imitrex and some weight loss drugs and cold medications. Sleep apnea is also a common known cause of secondary high blood pressure. Sleep apnea is usually marked by serious snoring. A person with this disorder fails to get enough oxygen as they sleep due to repeatedly stopping breathing and starting again during sleep. This has the effect of damaging the lining of the blood vessel walls making blood vessels less effective in regulating blood pressure.

Yet another cause of inessential hypertension is pregnancy. Known medically as gestational hypertension it occurs anytime after the 20th week of pregnancy and normally dissipates as soon as delivery. When the aorta is narrowed, medically known as coarctation of aorta, the heart pumps harder to get blood through the aorta to the rest of the body. This raises blood pressure particularly on the arms and can be repaired by surgery. This condition is one that a patient arrives with at birth. Coarctation of aorta is therefore another known cause of secondary high blood pressure.

The following is a summary of inessential hypertension causes;

  • Disorders e.g. adrenal gland
  • Kidney disease
  • Drugs and supplements side effects
  • Sleep apnea
  • Gestational hypertension
  • Coarctation of aorta

Secondary Hypertension Symptoms

Secondary high blood pressure is similar to essential hypertension as it pertains to high blood pressure symptoms. It can also remain asymptomatic for a long period until blood pressure numbers reach dangerously high levels. The ongoing challenges with dealing with high blood pressure is that symptoms remain elusive. It may be that in some individuals early-stage high blood pressure presents occasional dizziness and perhaps some intermittent dull headaches. This might be all to work with until systolic and diastolic readings reach advanced levels.

The following is a summary of symptoms pointing to secondary high blood pressure;

  • Sudden and unexpected onset of high blood pressure before or after a certain age i.e before 20 after 50
  • Resistant hypertension
  • Systolic blood pressure of 180mmHg, diastolic pressure of 110mmHg
  • Non-response from a previously working anti-hypertension medication

Secondary Hypertension Risk Factors

Risk factors for secondary hypertension will include different physical factors such as obesity. Weight gain is known to increase demand on a person's heart. This also puts increased pressure on artery walls leading to high blood pressure according to the high blood pressure definition. Loss of weight is an important factor in considering high blood pressure control and its effective management. This is also explained by the important link between exercise and blood pressure. Weight loss can be achieved by following a diet such as the hypertension diet.

Secondary Hypertension In Children

Certain studies such as that done in the U.S. at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center note that the incidence of pediatric hypertension is on the raise. Secondary high blood pressure in children is also as a result of underlying medical conditions. Doctors often screen children for underlying medical conditions when they present hypertension symptoms. Under normal circumstances children should have ideal blood pressure which is obviously lower than that of adults. This continues to change as they grow into adulthood. However the presence of kidney disease, heart disease and cardiovascular disease in general may result in inessential hypertension.

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