The Types and Causes of Hypertension

There are many different types of hypertension and the reason for having each of them varies. The type of hypertension that has no known cause is called essential (or primary) hypertension. There have though been some factors offered as possible causes and these include genetics, hormones, the environment and salt levels. Having an immediate family member with hypertension certainly puts you in a higher risk category and you should be careful to make any changes advised by your doctor to prevent it.

Another type of hypertension is brought on because of another condition or disease and this is known as secondary hypertension. In order to keep your secondary hypertension under control it follows that you must have the other condition under control also. These other illnesses include arteriosclerosis, diabetes and kidney disease but it can also be due to taking certain medications for a variety of other conditions.

This brings us to the next type of hypertension – medication induced hypertension. This can be caused both by taking medications and by coming off medication too quickly. There are a host of prescription medicines that have been known to cause hypertension such as birth control pills, migraine medication, corticosteroids and chronic anaemia medications. Even medicine that has been prescribed to tackle your high blood pressure can cause a rebound hypertension effect if they are stopped too quickly. Also, there are several over the counter medications for such conditions as coughs, colds and asthma that can bring on hypertension. It goes without saying that street drugs are bad for your health but drugs such as amphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine can cause hypertension as well.

Many would say that having children gives them high blood pressure but for many women that problem starts before the child is born with gestational hypertension. During the pregnancy, a woman’s blood pressure will be closely monitored for both her and the child’s well-being. If the levels are becoming dangerously high your doctor may recommend dietary changes such as less salt and soda drinks. In the worst case, if the problem increases the baby may have to be delivered by C-section. Usually, though your blood pressure will become normal after delivery.

So far, the conditions described are all controllable and not immediately life threatening. Those diagnosed with what is known as malignant hypertension are not as fortunate as their blood pressure has become excessively high. Damage is likely to many vitally important parts of the body such as the brain, eyes, blood vessels, kidneys and heart. Malignant hypertension is a medical emergency and patients may need to undergo major surgery to save their lives.

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