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 

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