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Secondary Hypertension: Everything You Need to Know

Secondary Hypertension: Everything You Need to Know

A lot of people are familiar with high blood pressure, or hypertension. However, not everyone is familiar with the term “secondary hypertension.” What exactly is secondary hypertension, and what does it mean to have this condition? Read on to learn everything you need to know about it.

What is Secondary Hypertension?

If a person has hypertension, more often than not, this means that they have essential hypertension. This means that there is no specific illness or condition that’s causing them to have high blood pressure. This accounts for the vast majority of cases worldwide.

In contrast, if a person has secondary hypertension, then it means that another illness or condition is responsible for hypertension. It is estimated that about 5%-10% of cases of hypertension are secondary.

Due to the fact that a disease is causing this type of hypertension, this means that this kind of hypertension can be curable.

11 Popular Myths about Hypertension Busted

What Can Cause Secondary Hypertension?

Here are some common illnesses that can cause a person to have secondary hypertension:

Thyroid problems

Thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can both lead to increased blood pressure. Hyperthyroidism is a condition that causes the thyroid gland to produce too many thyroid hormones. On the other hand, hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.

Hyperparathyroidism, while not a disease of the thyroid, can also cause hypertension. This is a condition that affects the parathyroid glands, which are located next to the thyroid gland, and causes it to produce too much parathyroid hormones.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease, such as polycystic kidney disease or chronic kidney disease, are also possible causes of secondary hypertension. This can happen because the arteries located near the kidneys can start to narrow because of these illnesses.

This reduced blood flow causes the kidneys to produce a hormone called renin. Renin by itself doesn’t increase blood pressure, but it can cause the body to produce chemicals that do increase blood pressure and lead to hypertension.

Adrenal Disease

Adrenal glands are found right at the top of our kidneys. As the name suggests, these glands are responsible for producing adrenaline, which our body uses to regulate blood pressure. If the adrenal glands start producing too much adrenaline because of a disease, then it can increase a person’s blood pressure.


Diabetes is a disease that can have a number of complications in different systems of the body. In particular, diabetes can cause kidney problems, which in turn can lead to hypertension.

Aside from this, people with diabetes are generally more prone to developing hypertension and cardiovascular problems in general.


Obesity is another possible cause of secondary hypertension. In persons with obesity, the extra fat in their bodies can put added pressure on their artery walls.

This additional pressure can lead to high blood pressure. Aside from this, having too much fat in the body can potentially release chemicals that increase a person’s blood pressure.

Persons with obesity are also more prone to health problems such as diabetes, and this can increase their chances of developing hypertension.

Sleep apnea

Lastly, sleep apnea can also lead to hypertension. Sleep apnea is a condition that causes severe snoring and can cause a person to stop breathing because of obstructions in the airways.

It is believed that the effects that sleep apnea has on the body can eventually cause hypertension if left untreated.

What Can You Do About it?

If you have secondary hypertension, the most important thing you can do would be to seek treatment for whatever illness is causing hypertension. In most cases, once the illness gets treated, hypertension tends to go away.

In some cases, such as diabetes and obesity, hypertension might not go away, but it can be controlled if the underlying cause is addressed.

It’s also possible for a doctor to prescribe maintenance medication for hypertension as it can help keep high blood pressure under control.

Hypertension Prevention Tips and Advice

How Can it be Prevented?

Here are some things that you can do to prevent secondary hypertension:

  • Eat a healthy diet that’s rich in green leafy vegetables, fruits, and lean meats such as fish.
  • Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.
  • Get regular checkups to keep tabs on your health.
  • If you have an underlying illness that causes hypertension, be sure to address that illness as soon as possible.

For any concerns, always consult your doctor.

Learn more about Hypertension here.


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Secondary Hypertension – Harvard Health, https://www.health.harvard.edu/a_to_z/secondary-hypertension-a-to-z, Accessed April 15, 2021

Secondary Hypertension; Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21128-secondary-hypertension, Accessed April 15, 2021

Secondary hypertension – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/secondary-hypertension/symptoms-causes/syc-20350679, Accessed April 15, 2021

Secondary Hypertension: Discovering the Underlying Cause – American Family Physician, https://www.aafp.org/afp/2017/1001/p453.html, Accessed April 15, 2021

Secondary hypertension in adults, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4876411/, Accessed April 15, 2021

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Apr 20, 2021
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel