Secondary hypertension refers to high blood pressure that is caused by other diseases. This is a less common form of hypertension when compared to ‘essential’ or ‘primary’ hypertension. A number of conditions that affect heart, kidneys or endocrine system may result in secondary hypertension. Controlling the underlying disease that results in high blood pressure is the best way to control this form of hypertension. This will also help in reducing the risk of complications due to high blood pressure.
The common medical conditions that may result in secondary hypertension include:
- Diabetic neuropathy – high blood pressure results as diabetes damages the functioning of kidney.
- Polycystic kidney disease – Presence of cysts affects the normal functioning of the kidneys leading to increased blood pressure.
- Glomerular disease – Inflammation of glomerulus, the part that helps in the filtering of waste, may also lead to hypertension.
- Renovascular hypertension – In this form of hypertension, the arteries leading to the kidneys narrow down causing high blood pressure. Narrowing of arteries may be due to the accumulation of fatty plaques on the arteries.
- Cushing syndrome – In this disease, factors that lead to the excess production of hormone cortisol leads to high blood pressure.
- Aldosteronism – Excessive production of the hormone aldosterone results in retention of salt and water in the body, leading to hypertension.
- Thyroid diseases – Thyroid issues like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism may lead to high blood pressure.
- Parathyroid disturbances – Excessive secretion of parathyroid hormone may lead to an increase in the amount of calcium in blood leading to hypertension.
- Sleep disorders – Sleep problems like sleep apnea where the breathing stops and starts for a moment may affect the amount of oxygen in blood. This may affect the lining of blood vessels and thus the regulation of blood pressure.
- Obesity – With increasing body weight, the amount of blood circulating also increases, which increases the pressure on arteries. The heart rate also increases considerably reducing the capacity of blood vessels in transporting blood.
- Pregnancy – This is yet another cause for increased blood pressure and can make hypertension worse, if already present.
- Certain medications – Many medications like pain relievers and antidepressants may increase the blood pressure.
Many of these factors can be controlled by appropriate medications. There are few factors that cannot be changed, which include age, race, family history, and gender.