What is secondary high blood pressure?

Aggie Read, RN

Primary hypertension is high blood pressure (>120/80) that is due to your genetics and lifestyle choices. Secondary hypertension is due to an underlying disease or condition. It accounts for 5 - 10% of all cases of hypertension. The most common cause of secondary hypertension is kidney (renal) disease. This is not surprising, since the kidneys play a role in keeping your blood pressure in the normal range. Kidneys release certain hormones and help regulate salt and fluid levels in our body. Once the underlying condition is corrected by surgery, medication or treatment, your blood pressure will most often return to a normal level. It is interesting to note that obstructive sleep apnea may also be a cause of secondary hypertension. 

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

High blood pressure (hypertension) occurs when your heart pumps blood at a rate that puts unusually high levels of pressure on your arteries. In some cases, the cause of high blood pressure is unknown, while in others it can be determined. If a doctor is able to diagnose what is causing your high blood pressure, then you have secondary high blood pressure, or secondary hypertension. Secondary high blood pressure can be deadly if left untreated, leading to several health complications including heart attacks and strokes. Typically, it doesn't cause any symptoms which means it's important to have your blood pressure checked by your doctor regularly. If you are diagnosed with secondary high blood pressure there are several steps you can take to lower it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.