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Types of High Blood Pressure

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Updated February 20, 2007

High blood pressure comes in many different types. Each type depends both on the cause of the high blood pressure and how the high blood pressure can be treated. When describing these types, doctors often use the word 'hypertension' instead of 'high blood pressure'. Because of this, when talking about the types, I will use the word 'hypertension' also.

Types of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

  • Essential Hypertension is the most common type. There is no specific and underlying cause for essential hypertension. Lifestyle factors and other risk factors all increase a person's chance of getting essential hypertension.
  • Secondary Hypertension is caused by another health condition such as diabetes, kidney problems or tumors. Once the other condition is controlled, blood pressure usually returns to normal.
  • White Coat Hypertension is caused by a person's anxiety or stress levels being very high. Some people getanxious each time they see the doctor and have blood pressure readings higher than normal.
  • Isolated Systolic Hypertension is hypertension in which only the systolic (upper) reading is high. This occurs in people over age 65 and is caused by a hardening of the arteries.
  • Labile Hypertension is when a person's blood pressure changes often. These changes can be caused by emotions or stress.
  • Malignant hypertension is a rare form of hypertension that is an emergency situation. Symptoms set in very quickly and there is a risk ofseizures, stroke of even death.

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