What is Secondary Hypertension?

Secondary hypertension is a less common form of high blood pressure. It is caused by certain medical conditions and can also be a result of pregnancy in women. Most people diagnosed with hypertension do not have secondary high blood pressure. If your hypertension is a result of being overweight, high cholesterol levels, hereditary, or poor diet, it is not classified as secondary hypertension.

Causes of secondary hypertension are related to other medical problems that result in blood pressure levels to be elevated. If it occurs during pregnancy, your medical provider can prescribe treatments that will not affect the unborn baby. The condition goes away after child birth.

Sleep apnea can also cause secondary high blood pressure. Sleep apnea is characterized by irregular sleeping patterns, including restless leg syndrome, snoring, and even stopping to breathe while sleeping. Some people’s hearts will even stop beating for short periods of time with sleep apnea. Treatment would consist of addressing the sleep apnea as the primary condition. Your medical provider may decide to put you on hypertension medication for a short period as well. Once the sleep apnea is treated then the secondary hypertension will go away in most cases.

Certain over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause secondary hypertension. Medications that are used to lose weight, fight colds, headache medications, anti-inflammatory medications, and even birth control can all cause this condition. Treatment is easy in these circumstances by discontinuing use of the medication causing the secondary high blood pressure. If you are taking a prescription medication, you should notify your medical provider so they can prescribe a different medication.

If you have problems with thyroid disease or kidney problems, you could also have secondary hypertension. Again the primary focus of treatment will by the primary problem in order to eliminate the high blood pressure. In certain circumstances you may have to take high blood pressure medication while your body adjusts to medications that treat thyroid disease or kidney problems. Once you have been on the medication for a period of time, your medical provider should check to see if you can come off the blood pressure medication.

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