Blood Pressure Home > What Causes High Blood Pressure?
In the majority of people, high blood pressure causes are not known, but factors such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or having diabetes can increase a person's risk of developing it. However, these risk factors are not the same as causes. When the cause of high blood pressure is known, this is called secondary hypertension.
In most people, the cause or causes of high blood pressure are not known. In these cases, 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 the cause is known, this is called secondary hypertension. (Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension.)
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; they 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 high blood pressure cause is known. This is called secondary hypertension. Conditions that can result in secondary hypertension include:
- Pheochromocytoma (a tumor of the adrenal gland)
- 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)
- 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
- Coarctation of the aorta (narrowing of the aorta)
- Cushing's syndrome (a hormonal disorder).