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Primary vs Secondary Hypertension

blood pressure reading by doctor

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, can be categorized into two main types: primary and secondary hypertension.

Primary Hypertension Primary hypertension, also known as essential hypertension, is the most common type of hypertension in adults. Despite extensive research, the exact cause of primary hypertension remains unknown. It is believed to be a combination of various factors such as genetics, age, diet, and lifestyle.

Lifestyle factors that contribute to primary hypertension include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, stress, obesity, high salt intake, and lack of physical activity. Making positive changes to one's diet and lifestyle can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of complications associated with hypertension.

Secondary Hypertension Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is caused by an underlying and potentially reversible condition. This type of hypertension is less common, accounting for only 5 to 10 percent of hypertension cases. It is more prevalent in younger people, with an estimated 30 percent of those aged 18 to 40 with hypertension having secondary hypertension.

The underlying causes of secondary hypertension can include narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the kidneys, adrenal gland disease, side effects of certain medications (such as birth control pills, diet aids, stimulants, antidepressants, and some over-the-counter medications), obstructive sleep apnea, hormone abnormalities, thyroid abnormalities, and constriction of the aorta.

It is important to identify the underlying cause of secondary hypertension in order to treat it effectively. If you have hypertension, your doctor may conduct further tests to determine if you have secondary hypertension and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.


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