Which Type of High Blood Pressure Do You Have?

Medically Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on June 13, 2021

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is classified as "essential" (primary) or "secondary.” Essential hypertension does not have an apparent cause. It may be due to such things as family history or lifestyle. Most people with high blood pressure have essential hypertension.

Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is less common and is the result of another condition, such as:

How Is Secondary Hypertension Diagnosed?

After you are diagnosed with hypertension, your doctor may perform other tests such as blood and urine screening to make sure you don't have secondary hypertension.



How Is Secondary Hypertension Treated?

In order to treat secondary hypertension, your doctor will address the condition or disorder that is causing the hypertension (adrenal gland disorder, kidney disease, sleep apnea, etc.) and try to correct that.


In cases where narrowed arteries are the cause of high blood pressure (coarctation, narrowed kidney arteries) surgery may be required to correct the problem. Not all patients will be eligible for surgery, however.


Your doctor may also choose to treat you with antihypertensive drug therapy, in addition to addressing the underlying health issues.


If you have secondary hypertension that is caused by a drug, your doctor may suggest that you stop taking or decrease the dose of the drug.

WebMD Medical Reference




American Family Physician: “Diagnosing Secondary Hypertension.”


The Journal of Family Practice: “The Diagnosis of Essential and Secondary Hypertension in Adults.”


University of Maryland Medical Center: “Secondary Hypertension.”

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