In most people with high blood pressure, there is no identifiable cause. When the cause of high blood pressure is known, it may involve conditions such as sleep apnea, acromegaly, and kidney disease, to name a few. Certain risk factors (such as a diet high in salt) increase the chances of developing hypertension.
In most people, the causes of hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) are not known. This type of high blood pressure is called primary, or essential, hypertension. In some people, hypertension is the result of another medical problem or medicine. When the causes of high blood pressure are known, the condition is referred to as secondary hypertension.
If a person is diagnosed with hypertension, it doesn't mean that he or she is "too nervous," overanxious, or obsessive. High blood pressure is not nervous tension. In fact, many people who are perfectly calm have high blood pressure.
In 9 out of 10 people with high blood pressure, there is no identifiable cause. This is called "primary hypertension" or "essential hypertension." Most people with primary hypertension don't even realize that they have it; the majority of people with hypertension feel no different from those who have normal blood pressure. That's why hypertension is often referred to as "the silent killer."
In just 1 out of 10 people, the cause of high blood pressure is known. This is called secondary hypertension. Some conditions that are secondary hypertension causes include:
- Pheochromocytoma (a tumor of the adrenal gland)
- Cushing's syndrome (a hormonal disorder)
- Aldosteronism (a condition in which adrenal glands produce too much of the hormone aldosterone)
- Hypothyroidism (the thyroid doesn't produce enough hormones)
- Hyperthyroidism (the thyroid produces an excess of hormones)
- Coarctation of the aorta (narrowing of the aorta)
- Hyperparathyroidism (excessive production of parathyroid hormone by the parathyroid glands)
- Acromegaly (a metabolic disorder caused by too much growth hormone)
- Kidney disease (such as polycystic kidney disease or glomerulonephritis)
- Sleep apnea
- Certain medicines, such as birth control pills.