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Information from Your Family Doctor
Clues That Your High Blood Pressure Is Due to an Underlying and Treatable Condition
Am Fam Physician. 2017 Oct 1;96(7):online.
See related article on secondary hypertension
What causes high blood pressure?
Most of the time when people have high blood pressure, the cause is unknown. This is called primary hypertension. However, a few people may have something called secondary hypertension. This means that there is an underlying and possibly reversible cause of the high blood pressure. Some possible causes of secondary hypertension are:
Obstructive sleep apnea
How will my doctor know to test for secondary hypertension?
Here are some signs and symptoms that may suggest your high blood pressure is caused by secondary hypertension:
Central obesity (excess fat around the stomach)
Cold or heat sensitivity
Flushing (skin turning red and hot)
Gasping during sleep
Large pad of fat on the back between the shoulders
Loss of consciousness
Low potassium levels in your blood
Poor kidney function
Slow or fast heart rate
You should also be tested for secondary hypertension if you are younger than 30 years, have a sudden rise in blood pressure after it has been controlled for a long time, or need more than three medicines to keep your blood pressure under control.
This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at http://familydoctor.org.
This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.
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