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What Is Resistant Hypertension? Symptoms And Diagnosis

When it becomes hard to control high blood pressure even with medicines, it becomes resistant. Resistant hypertension or resistant high blood pressure is the condition where the pressure of blood remains uncontrolled or high even with medications.

Resistant Hypertension

High blood pressure or hypertension is a major concern of health. But it is more of a concern when you take drugs to control it but see no improvements. Individuals with resistant, hard-to-treat hypertension Are more prone to the risk of kidney disease, heart failure, and stroke than people with controlled high blood pressure.

Resistant Hypertension

In individuals with resistant hypertension, the blood pressure stays above a reading of 130/80 mmHg. This does not get better even with blood pressure-lowering drugs including water pills. These individuals usually have to take four or more drugs for hypertension.

Sometimes a secondary cause or underlying health condition causes resistant hypertension.

Who Are at high risk of developing resistant hypertension?

People that are more prone to developing hypertension include those having diabetes, people with kidney diseases, older age people, and African Americans.

Also known as the silent killer, high blood pressure does not usually show any symptoms. Many people go on for years without even realizing they have it. But when left untreated, hypertension is a potential threat to your health.

It is important for you and your health care provider to monitor your blood pressure levels frequently, especially as you age. You can also keep a check on your blood pressure by inexpensive monitors cheaply available online or at most drug stores and pharmacies.

If your blood pressure gets higher suddenly and you experience hypertension symptoms like dizziness, pounding in the chest, headaches and shortness of breath, it is important to seek hypertension treatment immediately.

Causes Of Hypertension

Diet and lifestyle

There are a number of factors that cause resistant hypertension. The first is diet and lifestyle. Some conditions that can increase your risk of resistant hypertension are obesity, a diet full of salt, physical inactivity, and heavy intake of alcohol.

Drugs and medications

There are also some drugs and medications that cause hypertension. Some painkiller medicines like naproxen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and ibuprofen; oral contraceptives like birth control pills; nasal decongestants; licorice, ginseng, and some herbal products make it hard to control blood pressure.

Some secondary causes

Sometimes secondary sources that are treatable may be the reason for resistant hypertension. Conditions may make your blood pressure high.

Such causes include sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease, a condition known as Primary hyperaldosteronism where adrenal glands produce excess certain hormones, and a condition known as renal artery stenosis where the arteries of the kidneys get narrow.

Some less common causes include a tumor in the adrenal gland or pheochromocytoma and a condition is known as Cushing syndrome where some steroids are overproduced.

Diagnosing Resistant Hypertension

There are a number of ways in which your medical provider may diagnose if you have resistant hypertension.

Physical exam and a detailed history

Your doctor may ask you to give a detailed history of how your hypertension started and how long it has been going on. They may ask you about the medication to use and will prescribe them. Some questions related to secondary causes may be asked.

They may carry out a physical exam where some changes in your body are observed. They may look for hypertensive retinopathy or abnormal changes in your eye, vascular murmur, or abnormal sounds over some arteries. These sounds signal fatty tissue deposits that are abnormal.

Laboratory tests

These may include blood tests for glucose, potassium, sodium, and the level of blood creatinine; albumin or urine tests for protein. Your medical provider may ask for a blood test to check your adrenal hormones and to check for possible diseases.

Additionally, a condition known as hypothyroidism may also cause hypertension and so you may be tested for it.

Order imaging studies

CT scans, ultrasound, and X-rays may be used depending on your condition. To rule out renal artery stenosis or abnormal blockage of kidneys’ arteries, imaging tests might be used.


There are a number of therapies and medications so billable to treat resistant hypertension. But you can also make changes in your lifestyle and diet to treat it naturally.

Start exercising 30 minutes every day.  Limit the intake of alcohol and salt. Limit the intake of pain relief. If you think that it is harming your health and your everyday life, it is essential to consult your doctor.

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