Causes of High Blood Pressure
In most cases, there are no specific causes of high blood pressure. Factors such as being overweight, smoking, and having diabetes can increase a person's risk of developing this condition, but they are not "causes" in and of themselves. High blood pressure without an identifiable cause is known as primary or "essential hypertension."
In most people, a single, specific cause of high blood pressure is not known. This is called primary or essential hypertension. In other people, high blood pressure is the result of another medical problem or medicine. When the cause is known, this is called secondary high blood pressure.
If a person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, it doesn't mean that he or she is "too nervous," overanxious, or obsessive. This is a popular myth. High blood pressure is not nervous tension. In fact, many people who are perfectly calm have high blood pressure.
For nine out of ten people, there is no identifiable cause of high blood pressure. 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 the condition feel no different from those who have normal blood pressure. That's why high blood pressure is often called "the silent killer."
In one out of ten people, the high blood pressure cause is known. This is called secondary hypertension. Some conditions that can cause secondary hypertension include:
- Sleep apnea
- 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)
- Certain medicines, such as birth control pills
- Kidney disease (such as polycystic kidney disease or glomerulonephritis).