Signs and Symptoms of Secondary Hypertension Essay - Essay Prowess

Signs and Symptoms of Secondary Hypertension Essay


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Secondary Hypertension


Secondary hypertension is a high blood pressure that is contributed by the presence of other medical conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, glomerular disease, renal-vascular hypertension, thyroid complications, hyperparathyroidism, pheochromocytoma, aldosteronism, Cushing syndrome, among others. However, the prevalence of this condition and the most etiologies depends on the age group. Most studies reveal that approximately 6 to 10 percent of adults with high blood pressure have a secondary cause. In contrast, approximately 1 percent of children with hypertension have an identifiable cause, primarily renal parenchyma disease (Silbert-Flagg, Sloand & Millonig, 2011).  This paper pays high attention to the secondary hypertension that arises due to adrenal disease. Moreover, the associated signs and symptoms, and diagnostic tests for secondary hypertension are also discussed.

Adrenal disease is caused by conditions that alter the normal functioning of the adrenal glands. These glands are located on top of kidneys and release numerous hormones that contribute to the regulation of blood pressure. In some situations, one or both adrenal glands may synthesis and secrete an excess of some of these hormones, which in the long run results to high blood pressure. Apparently, there are three unique types of adrenal gland conditions that contribute to the development of high blood pressure. These includes; Pheochromocytoma (which is a tumor of the adrenal gland that stimulates the overproduction of adrenalin and noradrenalin hormones), hyperaldosteronism (a condition where both adrenal glands over-secrete aldosterone (salt-retaining hormone), and hypercortisolism (a condition where both adrenal glands overproduce cortisol hormone) (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2015).


Signs and symptoms of secondary hypertension

Similar to primary hypertension, Secondary hypertension have no unique signs and symptoms. For example, most patients experience fatigue, severe headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, vomiting, anxiety, increased sweating, heart palpitations, blurred vision, convulsions, nose bleeds, very high blood pressure, weight loss, among others. Among women, signs such as loss of menstrual periods, abdominal striae (appearance of purple stretch marks on the abdomen), and abnormal growth of body hair is present (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2015). It is very challenging for one to establish whether most of these signs are contributed by this condition. However, patients who had been earlier diagnosed with primary hypertension can know whether they have secondary hypertension if they experience some of these signs: systolic blood pressure which is over 160mm Hg or diastolic pressure of over 100 mm Hg, resistance to blood pressure medications, and sudden increase in blood pressure before 30 years of age or after age 55 (Silbert-Flagg, Sloand & Millonig, 2011).

Diagnostic tests

The initial test of this condition involves physical examination by a health physician. He or she pays attention to physical signs such as abnormal hair growth, presence of purple marks on the abdomen, among others. Consecutively, stethoscope may be used to establish the presence of abnormal blood flow especially in the kidneys. However, based on the physical examination results, the physician will proceed with additional tests in order to establish the cause of secondary hypertension. For adrenal disease, the doctor will conduct blood or urine tests, in order to establish the levels of nor-epinephrine or epinephrine, cortisol, potassium or aldosterone (Silbert-Flagg, Sloand & Millonig, 2011).


It is, therefore, evident that secondary hypertension is a serious condition that is caused by other medical conditions. Moreover, just like primary hypertension, this condition has no specific signs and symptoms, and therefore, individuals should adopt healthy behaviors such as routine medical check-ups for their blood pressure.




Mayo Clinic Staff, (2015). Diseases and conditions: Secondary Hypertension. Retrieved from,

Silbert-Flagg, J. A., Sloand, E., & Millonig, V. L. (2011). Pediatric nurse practitioner certification review guide: Primary care. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.