Hypertension

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Hypertension Main page

Overview

Causes

Classification

Primary Hypertension
Secondary Hypertension
Hypertensive Emergency
Hypertensive Urgency

Screening

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Usama Talib, BSc, MD [2]

Overview

Hypertension is generally defined as an elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP) ≥ 140 mmHg and/or diastolic blood pressure (DBP) ≥ 90 mmHg. Hypertension can be chronic or acute. While 95% of the cases of chronic hypertension are primary, 5% of chronic hypertension is secondary to other underlying causes. Hypertensive crisis is the acute elevation of blood pressure and it can be classified into hypertensive emergency or hypertensive urgency when end organ damage is present or absent respectively.

Causes

When a full evaluation yields no clear etiology for the elevated blood pressure, the latter is identified as primary hypertension. Secondary hypertension can be caused by:


For detailed causes of secondary hypertension, click here.

Classification

For more details about each specific type of hypertension, click on the links in blue in the algorithm below.
In order to distinguish primary hypertension from secondary hypertension, click here.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Hypertension
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Chronic hypertension
 
 
 
 
 
Hypertensive crisis
Acute elevation of blood pressure
- Systolic blood pressure >180 mm Hg
OR
- Diastolic blood pressure >120 mm Hg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Primary hypertension
(also known as essential hypertension)
(95% of the cases)
 
Secondary hypertension

(5% of the cases)
 
Hypertensive emergency
Evidence of end organ damage
 
Hypertensive urgency
No evidence of end organ damage
 

Screening

The age to begin screening for hypertension varies between 13-20 years of age, according to different authorities. Generally, hypertension is defined as SBP > 140 mmHg and/or DBP > 90 mmHg. In specific populations, however, routine follow-up target BP may be different; and initiation of treatment may be considered at even lower BP values than those considered for the normal population.

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