High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is classified as "essential'' (primary) or "secondary.” Essential hypertension does not have an apparent cause. It may be due to such things as family history or lifestyle. Most people with high blood pressure have essential hypertension.
Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is less common and is the result of another condition, such as:
Cutting down on salt may help lower your blood pressure. And most Americans need to cut back, because they get more sodium than they should.
The American Heart Association recommends getting less than 1,500 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day. That's less than a teaspoon from all your meals and snacks.
Start with these tips:
Break the habit of automatically reaching for your salt shaker. Table salt is about 40% sodium, according to the American Heart Association. So avoid adding salt to foods...
Disorders of the adrenal gland (small organs, located above the kidneys, that create hormones), including Cushing's syndrome (a condition caused by an overproduction of cortisol); hyperaldosteronism (too much aldosterone); and pheochromocytoma (a rare tumor that causes oversecretion of hormones like adrenaline)
Kidney disease, which may include polycystic kidney disease, kidney tumor, kidney failure, or a narrow or blocked main artery supplying the kidney
After you are diagnosed with essential hypertension, your doctor may perform other tests such as blood and urine screening to make sure you don't have secondary hypertension.
How Is Secondary Hypertension Treated?
In order to treat secondary hypertension, your doctor will address the condition or disorder that is causing the hypertension (adrenal gland disorder, kidney disease, sleep apnea, etc.) and try to correct that.
In rare cases, this may mean that you will have to undergo surgery, such as if you have coarctation of the aorta. Not all patients will be eligible for surgery, however.
Your doctor may also choose to treat you with antihypertensive drug therapy, whether or not you have surgery.
If you have secondary hypertension that is caused by a drug, your doctor may suggest that you stop taking or decrease the dose of the drug.