Endocrine causes of secondary hypertension

J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2008 Jul;10(7):534-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7176.2008.08097.x.


Secondary hypertension is common in clinical practice if a broad definition is applied. Various patterns of hypertension exist in the patient with an endocrine source of their disease, including new-onset hypertension in a previously normotensive individual, a loss of blood pressure control in a patient with previously well-controlled blood pressure, and/or labile blood pressure in the setting of either of these 2 patterns. A thorough history and physical exam, which can rule out concomitant medications, alcohol intake, and over-the-counter medication use, is an important prerequisite to the workup for endocrine causes of hypertension. Endocrine forms of secondary hypertension, such as pheochromocytoma and Cushing's disease, are extremely uncommon. Conversely, primary aldosteronism now occurs with sufficient frequency so as to be considered "top of the list" for secondary endocrine causes in otherwise difficult-to-treat or resistant hypertension. Primary aldosteronism can be insidious in its presentation since a supposed hallmark finding, hypokalemia, may be variable in its presentation. It is important to identify secondary causes of hypertension that are endocrine in nature because surgical intervention may result in correction or substantial improvement of the hypertension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endocrine System / physiopathology*
  • Endocrine System Diseases / complications*
  • Endocrine System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Hyperaldosteronism / complications
  • Hyperaldosteronism / physiopathology
  • Hypertension / diagnosis
  • Hypertension / etiology*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Pheochromocytoma / complications
  • Pheochromocytoma / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors