Hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and premature death. Together with cigarette smoking, high cholesterol and diabetes mellitus, it constitutes the so-called cardiovascular risk profile.
Hypertension is especially dangerous because it frequently has no symptoms. Most hypertension has no known cause (primary or essential hypertension).
About 5% of hypertension can be traced to underlying diseases, such as kidney disorders or conditions that cause narrowing of the arteries (secondary hypertension). Depending on how high your blood pressure is, you may be able to treat it with lifestyle changes alone.