Question: I didn’t have high blood pressure before surgery, but now I do. I don’t understand why I have hypertension now when my blood pressure was perfect before my procedure. What is causing this change?
Answer: There are many causes of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, and your newly elevated blood pressure may or may not be related to your surgery. It could be due to your pain level during the walk in to the doctor’s office, the medications you’ve been prescribed, the list goes on.
The cause of the hypertension is not as important as making sure it either goes away on its own or you seek treatment. Hypertension can lead to a stroke and other serious complications. Many people do not have symptoms when they have high blood pressure, which is why it is called "a silent killer."
If you haven’t talked to your surgeon, he needs to be made aware of this issue. Your primary care physician can also be a source of guidance if it continues.
Hypertension is blood pressure that is consistently elevated to 140/90 or higher. Primary hypertension means that an unrelated disease or problem is not responsible for the problem.
Causes of Hypertension
- Too much dietary salt
- Family history of hypertension
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Stress — emotional and physical (i.e., surgery)
Secondary hypertension is high blood pressure that is caused by an unrelated condition in the body.
Causes of Secondary Hypertension
- Kidney disease or kidney surgery
- Pregnancy - preeclampsia and eclampsia
- Prescription medication - including steroids and hormones
- Over-the-counter medication - includes pain relievers and cold medicines
- Illicit drugs - cocaine, crystal meth, amphetamines
- Adrenal gland dysfunction
- Thyroid disorders
- Coarctation of the Aorta - narrowing of the aorta (present from birth) that causes high blood pressure in the arms
- Sleep disorders - including Sleep Apnea
White Coat Hypertension
White coat hypertension is the term for high blood pressure that is elevated during medical visits but is normal at home. Monitoring blood pressure at home or elsewhere outside of the clinical environment may provide more accurate readings in patients who have anxiety regarding medical care.
More Information: Answers to Common Questions After Surgery
Sources: Johns Hopkins Health Alert: Hypertension and Stroke http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/symptoms_remedies/hypertension/92-1.html
Johns Hopkins Health Alert: Hypertension and Stroke http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/symptoms_remedies/hypertension/92-1.html
Causes of Secondary Hypertension. US News and World Report http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/heart/hypertension/hyper.about.causes.secondary.htm