Causes of High Blood Pressure

Exacerbating factors: There are a number of issues that are more accurately called “risk factors” or “exacerbating factors” for chronic hypertension, rather than directly causing hypertension. Some examples include:

Chronic Primary Hypertension (Essential Hypertension): The most common type of chronic hypertension is the well-known chronic disorder called “essential hypertension” that occurs without a particularly clear cause. Risk factors such as those above (e.g. obesity and high cholesterol) have some relationship but are not the direct cause. Some other related disorders include:

Read more about: Essential Hypertension, Chronic Hypertension.

Other Types of Hypertension: There are some other less common types of hypertension, relating to high blood pressure in particular blood vessels, such as:

Pregnancy-Related Hypertension: Various disorders of high blood pressure can occur during pregnancy, and they can be very serious and life-threatening to both the mother and the fetus. Types of hypertension in pregnancy include:

  • Eclampsia
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Gestational hypertension

Acute Hypertension: Various disorders can cause a sudden onset or acute hypertensive state, including various life-threatening disorders, such as:

Tachycardia: Any disease that causes an extremely rapid pulse, or a “bounding pulse”, can potentially cause high blood pressure. Read more about: Tachycardia

Secondary Hypertension: If chronic hypertension occurs without a clear cause it is called “essential hypertension” or “primary hypertension”. However, various diseases and disorders can cause “secondary hypertension”, which refers to chronic hypertension resulting from another cause. Examples include cardiovascular disorders, kidney disorders, endocrine disorders, blood cell disorders, and various other types.

Cardiovascular Disorders: Some examples of heart and cardiovascular diseases that cause chronic or acute hypertension include:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Aortic aneurysm (dissecting)
  • Aortic coarctation (congenital heart disorder)
  • Aortic insufficiency
  • Aortic atherosclerosis
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (congenital heart disorder)

Red Blood Cell Disorders: Having a too low or too high level of red blood cells can cause hypertension, such as:

Kidney Disorders: The kidney has an important role in regulating blood pressure. A number of different disorders of the kidney can result in chronic hypertension, such as:

There are other types of kidney disease. Read more about: Kidney disorders

Adrenal Disorders: Various disorders of the adrenal glands can cause hypertension, such as:

Other Disease Causes: Various other diseases can cause secondary hypertension, such as:

Substance Causes: Various poisons, toxins, illicit drugs, prescription medications, over-the-counter treatments, herbal remedies, and other substances can cause high blood pressure (or exacerbate it), such as:

Other Causes: There are various other causes of high blood pressure, such as:

  • False high reading. There are various ways that a high blood pressure reading can result from an incorrectly taken measurement. One error that has facetiously been called “small cuff syndrome” occurs when a small measurement cuff gives a falsely high reading (on a child).
  • Anxiety-related hypertension. Excessive nervousness or anxiety can cause falsely high blood pressure readings that reflect temporarily raised blood pressure due to emotions. Patients who get nervous in the doctor’s office may especially be prone to wrongly appear to have chronic hypertension from repeated measurements.
  • Kidney dialysis treatment side-effect
  • Kidney transplant side-effect


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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.