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The many causes of hypertension

Last updated on: December 10, 2012 09:43 IST

If you suffer from high blood pressure, here's what may be triggering the problem.

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a medical condition in which a person's blood pressure in the body's arteries remains chronically elevated.

Many types of hypertension exist, like systemic or arterial hypertension, portal hypertension and others, but the term 'hypertension' in general implies systemic or arterial hypertension.

There are two types of hypertension that are usually defined, ie primary and secondary hypertension.

Primary hypertension is also known as essential hypertension. Primary hypertension or essential hypertension will not have any cause predefined, while secondary hypertension is secondary to any other medical causes like a tumour or some systemic diseases.

More than 90 per cent of patients have essential hypertension, which means that no cause is found.

Hypertension is one of the risk factors for strokes, heart attacks, heart failure and arterial aneurysms, and it can lead to chronic renal failure also.

Moderate elevation of arterial blood pressure can even lead to shortened life expectancy, which decreases further with the increase in the average blood pressure.

Essential hypertension

Last updated on: December 10, 2012 09:43 IST

Hypertension is one of the most common disorders and it generally affects 90 per cent of hypertensive patients.

Risk factors for essential hypertension are sedentary lifestyle, obesity, salt, alcohol intake, smoking and Vitamin D deficiency. It is also related to increased age and to some inherited genetic mutations; a family history of hypertension will increase the risk of a person getting hypertension.

Elevated renin -- which is an enzyme secreted by the juxtaglomerular apparatus of the kidney and linked with aldosterone -- is one of the risk factors.

Secondary hypertension

Last updated on: December 10, 2012 09:43 IST

Secondary hypertension results from an identifiable cause.

The recognition of this type of high blood pressure is necessary, as the management will depend on the underlying causes, like Cushing's syndrome, for instance. Cushing's syndrome is a condition where both adrenal glands overproduce the hormone cortisol, which leads to hypertension. More than 80 per cent of patients with Cushing's syndrome have hypertension.

Other causes

Last updated on: December 10, 2012 09:43 IST