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Secondary High Blood Pressure - Topic Overview

Secondary high blood pressure is high blood pressure that is caused by another disease or condition. It can also be caused by certain medicines.

If your doctor thinks that you may have secondary high blood pressure, you may need tests to diagnose other health problems. Your doctor will also check the medicines that you take, because some medicines can cause high blood pressure as a side effect.

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If your doctor can treat the cause of the high blood pressure, it might lower your blood pressure.

Secondary high blood pressure is not common. The risk of secondary high blood pressure is higher in children than in adults. In adults, it may cause high blood pressure in about 5 out of 100 people who have high blood pressure.1

What causes secondary high blood pressure?

Causes of secondary high blood pressure include:

Your doctor may suspect that you have secondary high blood pressure if:

  • Your blood pressure has suddenly gone up since it was last checked.
  • You are young and your blood pressure is 160/100 or higher.
  • You have had many treatments and medicines for high blood pressure, but it is still 160/100 or higher.
  • You have symptoms of health problems that may raise blood pressure.
  • Your kidneys don't work as well as they should.

How is it treated?

Secondary high blood pressure is typically treated by treating the cause of the high blood pressure. Your treatment depends on what is causing your high blood pressure and whether the high blood pressure should be lowered as soon as possible to prevent problems.

If a health problem is the cause, this high blood pressure may return to normal when the other health problem is treated. But treating the condition that has caused your secondary high blood pressure will not always lower blood pressure back to a normal level. In this case, you may need to treat the high blood pressure too.

If a medicine is the cause, this high blood pressure may return to normal if the medicine is stopped or the dose is adjusted.

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