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What is the difference between primary and secondary hypertension?

Primary hypertension and secondary hypertension are two different types of high blood pressure.

Primary Hypertension

Also known as essential hypertension, primary hypertension is the most common type of high blood pressure, accounting for around 90-95% of cases. It develops gradually over time and does not have a specific identifiable cause. Instead, primary hypertension is influenced by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

Factors such as family history, age, obesity, physical inactivity, salt intake, and stress can contribute to its development.

Management of primary hypertension typically involves lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction, along with medication if necessary.

Secondary Hypertension

Secondary hypertension, on the other hand, is caused by an underlying medical condition or certain medications. It accounts for approximately 5-10% of cases.

Underlying conditions that can lead to secondary hypertension include kidney diseases, hormonal disorders (e.g., adrenal gland disorders or thyroid problems), sleep apnea, and certain medications like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or birth control pills. Treating the underlying cause is essential in managing secondary hypertension effectively.


  1. American Heart Association. (2021). Types of Blood Pressure Medications. Retrieved from:

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