Hypertension is the most diagnosed condition in the United States today and it is estimated that it affects around 72,000,000 US citizens, which includes 1 out of every 3 adults. But, when we are talking about high blood pressure, did you know that there are in fact two different types of high blood pressure?
The vast majority of individuals suffer from what is officially termed primary or essential high blood pressure which generally has few, if any, symptoms and often builds up slowly over a number of years. A smaller, but nonetheless very significant, number of individuals suffer from secondary high blood pressure which arises out of an underlying medical condition and will occasionally arise with a very rapid onset.
The medical conditions that may produce secondary high blood pressure are many and varied but here are some of the more common causes:
Obesity. An increase in weight is not infrequently accompanied by an increase in your heart rate, as the heart comes under pressure to pump an increasing amount of blood around your body, and a consequently increased pressure on the walls of the arteries.
Thyroid Problems. Excessive or insufficient hormone production from the thyroid gland, experienced in conditions such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can, directly or indirectly, produce an increase in your blood pressure.
Sleep Apnea. The frequent interruption to your breathing arising from sleep apnea leads to oxygen deprivation which damages the lining of the blood vessels and affects the elasticity needed within these vessels to control your blood pressure.
Kidney Problems. Your kidneys are composed of literally millions of minute blood vessels and structures that are designed to filter waste products out of your blood. When this process of filtering is upset, in the case of polycystic kidney disease or hydronephrosis, one of the results is secondary high blood pressure.
Dietary Supplements. A number of commonly available dietary supplements, such as ginseng and St John’s wort, can produce high blood pressure.
This list is not of course exhaustive and could also have included such items as prescription and over-the-counter drugs, preeclampsia, Cushing’s disease, diabetes and more.
High blood pressure, whether secondary or primary, is a serious medical condition that can result in the development of other life-threatening conditions such as cardiovascular disease, heart disease and kidney failure.