Blood Pressure Home > High Blood Pressure Causes
In the majority of people with the condition, there are no known high blood pressure causes. Factors such as being overweight, smoking, or having diabetes can increase a person's risk of developing hypertension, but they are not "causes" in and of themselves. When the causes of high blood pressure are not known, the condition is called primary or "essential hypertension."
In most people, a single, specific high blood pressure cause is not known. This type of high blood pressure is called primary, or essential, hypertension. In other people, high blood pressure is the result of another medical problem or medicine. When these causes are known, it is called secondary high blood pressure.
Despite popular myth, if a person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, 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 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 high blood pressure feel no different from those who have normal blood pressure. That's why high blood pressure is often called "the silent killer."
In just one out of ten people, the causes of high blood pressure are known. This is called secondary hypertension. Some conditions that can cause secondary hypertension 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.