Ask the Doctor: Blood Pressure Can Be Cured
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: About a year ago, I was told I had high blood pressure, and ever since, I have taken medicine for it.
At first it was one drug; then two; now I am on three.
These medicines are making me groggy.
Still my blood pressure is high.
I am only 32.
No one else in my family has high blood pressure.
I am on a low-salt diet.
I exercise regularly and am on the thin side.
I have never smoked.
What’s going on with me? - R.B.
ANSWER: Thirty-two is a young age for high blood pressure.
Furthermore, you’re doing all the right things, but your pressure stays elevated.
Three medicines don’t bring your pressure down.
You could have secondary hypertension (high blood pressure).
Most high blood pressure is essential hypertension.
“Essential” here doesn’t mean necessary.
It means that the high pressure is unexplainable.
Much is known about what’s happening, but the basic cause is still in the dark.
Secondary hypertension indicates that the rise in pressure is due to a definite and separate disorder that’s causing the pressure rise.
Examples are tumors of the adrenal gland, all sorts of kidney diseases, narrowing of one kidney’s artery, Cushing’s disease (an endocrine hormone disorder) and a kink of the aorta (coarctation).
If the secondary cause can be eliminated, as it often can, then the blood pressure returns to normal, and medicines are no longer needed.
Your profile suggests secondary hypertension.
Discuss this with your doctor.
If the doctor believes a search is justified, then looking for secondary causes could explain many of the peculiarities in your story - young age of onset and blood pressure that’s resistant to drugs.