Like primary high blood pressure (hypertension), secondary hypertension usually has no specific signs or symptoms, even if your blood pressure has reached dangerously high levels.
Some people may experience headaches from secondary hypertension, but it's difficult to know if high blood pressure or something else is causing the headaches.
If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, having any of these signs may mean your condition is secondary hypertension:
- High blood pressure that doesn't respond to blood pressure medications (resistant hypertension)
- Very high blood pressure — systolic blood pressure over 160 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or diastolic blood pressure over 100 mm Hg
- A blood pressure medication or medications that previously controlled your blood pressure no longer work
- Sudden-onset high blood pressure before age 30 or after age 55
- No family history of high blood pressure
- No obesity
When to see a doctor
If you have a condition that can cause secondary hypertension, you may need your blood pressure checked more frequently. Ask your doctor how often to have your blood pressure checked.
March 15, 2013
- McKean SC, et al. Principles and Practice of Hospital Medicine. New York, N.Y: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=749. Accessed Jan. 25, 2013.
- Sukor N. Secondary hypertension: A condition not to be missed. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2011;87:706.
- Kaplan NM, et al. Overview of hypertension in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 25, 2013.
- Fuster V, ed. et al. Hurst's The Heart. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=5. Accessed Jan. 25, 2013.
- Lerma EV, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Nephrology & Hypertension. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=628. Accessed Jan. 25, 2013.
- Viera AJ, et al. Diagnosis of secondary hypertension: An age-based approach. American Family Physician. 2010;82:1471.
- Grossman E, et al. Drug-induced hypertension: An unappreciated cause of secondary hypertension. The American Journal of Medicine. 2012;125:14.
- Sheps SG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 20, 2013.
- The seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Bethesda, Md.: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/hypertension/jnc7full.htm. Accessed Jan. 20, 2013.
- Your guide to lowering your blood pressure with DASH. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash/new_dash.pdf. Accessed Jan. 20, 2013.
- Riccioni G. Aliskiren in the treatment of hypertension and organ damage. Cardiovascular Therapeutics. 2011;29:77.
- FDA drug safety communication: New warning and contraindication for blood pressure medicines containing aliskiren (Tekturna). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm300889.htm. Accessed Jan. 22, 2013.
- Aliskiren. Micromedex Healthcare Series. http://www.micromedex.com. Accessed Jan. 22, 2013.
- Grapefruit. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed Jan. 22, 2013.