Understanding Primary and Secondary Hypertension

Nearly 50% of adults in the United States have hypertension, or high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease. Unfortunately, many more people might be living with the condition and not even know it.

To reduce your risk of heart disease, our team at HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC, recommends regular blood pressure checks. We also provide services that help you manage hypertension in the long-term to prevent serious health complications.

Here’s some helpful info on high blood pressure and the two types: primary and secondary hypertension.

An overview of hypertension

Hypertension is a condition where the force of your blood against your artery walls is too high. If left untreated, this increased blood pressure can damage your arteries and make it more difficult for your blood to circulate throughout your body.

There are many people who unknowingly have hypertension and are at risk for developing serious health complications, including:

These conditions can lead to long-term health issues and increase your risk for premature death.

The classifications of hypertension

There are two classifications of hypertension – primary and secondary. At HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC, we can diagnose which type you have and customize a treatment plan to help you keep it well-controlled.

Primary hypertension

Primary hypertension, or essential hypertension, describes high blood pressure levels that occur for no known reason. This type of hypertension is the most common and develops gradually over time, possibly due to smoking, having a poor diet, and being overweight.

Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that develops because of other underlying health conditions. If you have thyroid or kidney disease, you might be at increased risk for developing hypertension.

You can also develop secondary hypertension if you have obstructive sleep apnea or use illicit drugs, birth control pills, or over-the-counter cold medicines.

Hypertension is a silent killer

You can have either type of hypertension without knowing it because the condition typically doesn’t cause symptoms until it’s in the advanced stages.

If your blood pressure gets too high, it can lead to dizziness, fainting, and shortness of breath. However, many people unknowingly live with elevated blood pressure that remains uncontrolled, which is why hypertension is often referred to as the “silent killer.”

The only way to know that you have hypertension is to get regular blood pressure screenings. Screenings are typically a part of your routine health care checkups, but you might need more frequent screenings if you have underlying health issues and other risk factors for high blood pressure, such as:

Your risk for hypertension also increases as you age, especially if you’re over 50.

Tips for preventing hypertension

You can reduce your risk for complications of hypertension by making changes to your lifestyle and diet. Our team at HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC, recommends eating a heart-healthy diet, getting daily exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

You should also limit your use of alcohol, quit smoking, and be mindful of your stress levels.

If these changes aren’t enough to lower your blood pressure, our team can prescribe medications that support your lifestyle as well as diet changes to keep your blood pressure well-controlled.

If you need help managing hypertension, call the HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC, office nearest you today.

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