Thursday, August 9, 2012

Correctable causes of high blood pressure and" The Sleeper"

The most common cause for high blood pressure is something called , essential hypertension. This means that there is no clear correctable cause and the doctor can procede with medical treatment.

Rare correctable causes of hypertension 

Hyperaldosteronism
One of the correctable causes include a tumor in the adrenal gland producing an excess of a hormone called aldosterone ( Conns Disease). A tip off to diagnosing this disease is high blood pressure associated with an unexplained low blood potassium level. Potassium levels are included in most routine chem. screens.
Pheochromocytoma -
Another rare adrenal gland tumor is pheochromcytoma. This tumor is difficult to diagnose and may cause periodic episodes of high or low blood pressure , excessive sweating , fast heart rate  and anxiety.
 Renal artery stenosis -
A narrowing or obstruction of arterial blood flow to one kidney  can cause hypertension.

Most doctors will go through their medical careers with out ever seeing a patient with one of the above problems.


Common causes of hypertension "The  BIG loud sleeper "

  Sleep apnea is not rare  but may be overlooked as a cause of  hypertension

     Sleep apnea, especially obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition 
     * effecting 4 % of men and 2 % of women over the age of 18.

     * it is estimated that 70 % of obese people have sleep apnea.

     *one study found that 37.4 % of patients with type 2 diabetes and 10.3 % patients with Type 1
       diabetes  in the study had an abnormal screening test for obstructive sleep apnea.
     . Prevalence of Sleep Apnea in Diabetic Patients  published in Clin.Respir. J.2011 July 5; 165- 72.

Sleep apnea is a very common , not so silent  , easily diagnosed, but often overlooked , very treatable cause of high blood pressure. I plan to spend the next few days reviewing sleep apnea.

Have Fun , Be smart and don't over look the sleeper
David Calder,MD


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Your comments and questions are appreciated. David Calder,MD