Hypertension is related to many conditions, including those that affect your heart, kidneys, and thyroid gland. But there are steps you can take to prevent these conditions.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is defined as a systolic reading of 130 mm Hg or higher and a diastolic reading of 80 mm Hg or higher.

When you have hypertension, your blood pushes against your artery walls with excess force, which can eventually cause damage throughout your body. This includes your heart, kidneys, and other organs.

Also, you may develop hypertension-related complications before you know you have high blood pressure. On top of this, some conditions that cause hypertension can worsen your blood pressure if you don’t have them under control.

Read on to learn more about some of the most common hypertension-related conditions.

Blood pressure chart showing high and low pressures measured in mm HgShare on Pinterest
High and low blood pressure readings. Design by Diego Sabogal and Ruth Basagoitia

Hypertension is commonly associated with heart problems, including heart attack, heart failure, and angina.

Increased blood pressure may weaken your arteries, which can then reduce the amount of blood and oxygen going back to your heart.

Over time, this can lead to blocked arteries in your heart, which occurs during a heart attack. Heart failure develops when your heart can no longer function as it should.

Angina, on the other hand, is a symptom of chest pain that occurs when your heart doesn’t get enough blood.

If you have obesity, you may have a higher risk of developing hypertension. In fact, according to one 2020 paper, it’s estimated that 65% to 78% of primary hypertension cases can be linked to obesity.

There’s not a single cause of hypertension development in obesity. Instead, researchers in the same paper speculate that it’s an accumulation of problems that develop from increased fat storage in the body, including insulin resistance and hormone changes.

Kidney disease is a common complication in hypertension, and it’s a result of damaged blood vessels in your kidneys. This can reduce your kidneys’ ability to remove wastes from your body, leading to a dangerous backup.

Also, reduced kidney function can cause fluids to build up in your body, which may worsen problems with hypertension.

On the flip side, hypertension is also considered the second most common cause of kidney failure in U.S. adults. If you have both hypertension and diabetes, you’re at an even higher risk of developing kidney disease.

Hypertension is also associated with metabolic syndrome (insulin resistance syndrome), a group of conditions that can increase your risk of serious health complications, such as coronary heart disease and stroke.

It’s estimated that 1 in 3 adults in the United States have metabolic syndrome. But the conditions in this umbrella syndrome are usually preventable, including hypertension.

A doctor may diagnose metabolic syndrome if you have at least three of the following conditions:

Also, having metabolic syndrome can increase your body’s sensitivity to dietary salt and possibly worsen hypertension or increase your risk of developing blood pressure problems.

Also simply known as “sleep apnea,” obstructive sleep apnea causes your breathing to pause during sleep due to a narrowing of your airways. Not only does sleep apnea lead to frequent nighttime awakening and daytime fatigue, but it also deprives your body of oxygen.

Without treatment, sleep apnea can increase your risk of developing hypertension. Some researchers believe that the pauses in breathing that occur with sleep apnea, and possibly the associated sleep deprivation, can increase your blood pressure.

You may also be at risk of developing other health conditions, such as diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

Certain thyroid diseases are also associated with hypertension, including both overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Thyroid hormones affect nearly every body function, including your cardiovascular system.

Although researchers are still exploring the exact connections, one 2019 clinical review provides a couple of reasons that thyroid disease may cause hypertension.

First, thyroid hormone imbalances can cause lipid level and vascular changes, therefore influencing your blood pressure. There’s also a possibility that certain genetic changes may influence thyroid disease and subsequent hypertension.

In some cases, the first symptom of thyroid disease may be high blood pressure. If further blood testing does reveal thyroid disease, then correcting the associated hormonal imbalances may also help hypertension.

In many cases, hypertension and its related complications are preventable with lifestyle modifications. For example, a doctor may recommend:

Adults with diagnosed hypertension may also benefit from high blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics.

If you do develop hypertension-related conditions, there are still steps you can take to help address both issues.

For example, treatments for obstructive sleep apnea, kidney disease, and thyroid disease can subsequently help with high blood pressure. If needed, a doctor may also recommend a weight loss plan to help with obesity, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension.

Hypertension creates excess pressure against blood vessels throughout the body, which can lead to cardiovascular and other related health complications. At the same time, certain hypertension-related conditions can cause your blood pressure to go up.

Keep in mind that hypertension itself doesn’t cause symptoms, but some of its complications and related conditions do. This is why it’s important to have a doctor check your blood pressure at least once a year to help detect potential signs of hypertension.