High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Find the right lab tests for hypertension to determine whether the cause is an underlying medical condition that can be resolved or controlled and to evaluate the status of your kidneys and organs to get a baseline of organ health and monitor the control of your blood pressure and organ status over time with Ulta Lab Tests. Learn about your health today!

Check out ouur guide on Hypertension: 15 Key Blood Tests Individuals With High Blood Pressure Can Use


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Serum albumin measurements are used in the monitoring and treatment of numerous diseases involving those related to nutrition and pathology particularly in the liver and kidney. Serum albumin is valuable when following response to therapy where improvement in the serum albumin level is the best sign of successful medical treatment. There may be a loss of albumin in the gastrointestinal tract, in the urine secondary to renal damage or direct loss of albumin through the skin. More than 50% of patients with gluten enteropathy have depressed albumin. The only cause of increased albumin is dehydration; there is no naturally occurring hyperalbuminemia

Determination of aldosterone is useful in the diagnosis and evaluation of primary aldosteronism, selective hypoaldosteronism, edematous states, and other conditions of electrolyte imbalance

Approximately 1-2% of individuals with primary hypertension have primary hyperaldosteronism characterized by hypokalemia (low potassium) and low direct renin. Because serum aldosterone concentrations vary due to dietary sodium intake and body position, some physicians prefer measurement of 24-hour urine concentration for aldosterone.

Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) converts Angiotensin I to Angiotensin II. Angiotensin II exerts a negative feedback control of renin release. Angiotensin II, along with direct renin, is useful in the classification of patients with hypertension.

The ATR1 receptor gene polymorphism is associated with increased risk for hypertension and cardiovascular risk. Substantial increase in the c allele frequency was observed among patients with severe hypertension, particularly among individuals carrying dd ACE genotype.

Apolipoprotein A1 (APO A1) has been reported to be a better predictor than HDL cholesterol and triglycerides for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Low levels of APO A1 in serum are associated with increased risk of CAD. The measurement of APO A1 may be of value in identifying patients with atherosclerosis.

Apolipoprotein A1 (APO A1) has been reported to be a better predictor than HDL cholesterol and triglycerides for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Low levels of APO A1 in serum are associated with increased risk of CAD. The measurement of APO A1 may be of value in identifying patients with atherosclerosis. Apolipoprotein B (APO B) has been reported to be a more powerful indicator of CAD than total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol in angiographic CAD and in survivors of myocardial infarction. In some patients with CAD, APO B is elevated even in the presence of normal LDL cholesterol.

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Apolipoprotein B (APO B) has been reported to be a powerful indicator of CAD. In some patients with CAD, APO B is elevated even in the presence of normal LDL cholesterol.

BNP is increased in congestive heart failure, left ventricular hypertrophy, acute myocardial infarction, coronary angioplasty, and hypertension. Elevations are also observed in pulmonary hypertension (indicating right ventricular dysfunction), acute lung injury, hypervolemic states, chronic renal failure and cirrhosis. Decreasing levels indicate therapeutic response to anti-hypertensive therapy.

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C-Reactive Protein Cardiac (hs CRP) Useful in predicting risk for cardiovascular disease.


This test determines the subtypes of apoe which will aid in the risk assessment of corornary heart disease (CHD) and hyperlipoproteinemia.

Elevated concentrations of Lp(a) are associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease.

There is a correlation between increased risk of premature heart disease with decreasing size of LDL particles. Ion mobility offers the only direct measurement of lipoprotein particle size and concentration for each lipoprotein from HDL3 to large VLDL.

Cardio IQ Lp-PLA2 Activity

Clinical Significance

Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2), also known as platelet activating factor Acetylhydrolase, is an inflammatory enzyme that circulates bound mainly to low density lipoproteins and has been found to be localized and enriched in atherosclerotic plaques. In multiple clinical trials, Lp-PLA2 activity has been shown to be an independent predictor of coronary heart disease and stroke in the general population. Measurement of Lp-PLA2 may be used along with traditional cardiovascular risk factor measures for identifying individuals at higher risk of cardiovascular disease events. Clinical management may include beginning or intensifying risk reduction strategies. The activity assay is an enzyme assay run on an automated chemistry platform.


Cardio IQ® Lipoprotein Subfractionation, Ion Mobility

Clinical Significance

There is a correlation between increased risk of premature heart disease with decreasing size of LDL particles. Ion mobility offers the only direct measurement of lipoprotein particle size and concentration for each lipoprotein from HDL3 to large VLDL.

Includes

HDL Particle Number; LDL Particle Number; Non-HDL Particle Number; HDL, Small; HDL Large; LDL, Very Small-d; LDL, Very Small-c; LDL, Very Small-b; LDL, Very Small-a; LDL Small; LDL Medium; LDL, Large-b; LDL, Large-a; IDL, Small; IDL, Large; VLDL, Small; VLDL, Medium; VLDL, Large; LDL Pattern; LDL Peak Size

Patient Preparation

Fasting preferred

Methodology

Ion Mobility

 


Catecholamines, Fractionated, 24-Hour Urine with Creatinine 

Includes: Creatinine, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, Dopamine, and Total Catecholamines (calculated)

Patient Preparation: It is preferable for the patient to be off medications for three days prior to collection. Common antihypertensives (Diuretics, Ace Inhibitors, Calcium Channel Blockers, Alpha and Beta Blockers) may cause minimal or no interference.

Preferred Specimen(s): 10 mL aliquot from a 24-hour collection preserved with 6N HCI at the start of collection 


Chromogranin A, LC/MS/MS - Chromogranin-A (CgA) is an acidic glycoprotein expressed in the secretory granules of most normal and neoplastic neuroendocrine (NE) cell types, where it is released together with peptide hormones and biogenic amines. Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) are a form of cancer that differ from other neoplasia in that they synthesize, store, and secrete peptides, e.g., CgA and amines. CgA is secreted from neuroendocrine-derived tumors including foregut, midgut and hindgut gastrointestinal NETs, pheochromocytomas, neuroblastomas, medullary thyroid carcinomas, some pituitary tumors, functioning and non-functioning pancreatic NETs.
Significantly elevated CgA levels have been found in patients with other diseases, such as impaired renal function, untreated benign essential hypertension, gastritis, prostatic carcinoma, and hyperparathyroidism. The best-characterized circulating biomarker that identifies NETs in general is CgA. Monitoring blood CgA levels may effectively provide information that is helpful in delineating tumor burden and rate of tumor growth, predicting tumor response to therapy and providing some indication as to prognosis.


A Complete Blood Count (CBC) Panel is used as a screening test for various disease states including anemia, leukemia and inflammatory processes.

A CBC blood test includes the following biomarkers: WBC, RBC, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit, MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW, Platelet count, Neutrophils, Lymphs, Monocytes, Eos, Basos, Neutrophils (Absolute), Lymphs (Absolute), Monocytes(Absolute), Eos (Absolute), Basos (Absolute), Immature Granulocytes, Immature Grans (Abs)


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Cortisol is increased in Cushing's Disease and decreased in Addison's Disease (adrenal insufficiency).

  • Apolipoprotein A1 + B [ 7018 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • hs-CRP [ 10124 ]
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios [ 19543 ]

  • Apolipoprotein A1 + B [ 7018 ]
  • CARDIO IQ(R) LIPOPROTEIN SUBFRACT, ION MOBILITY [ 92500 ]
  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) [ 6399 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • Fibrinogen Activity, Clauss [ 461 ]
  • hs-CRP [ 10124 ]
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios [ 19543 ]
  • Lipoprotein (A) [ 34604 ]

  • Apolipoprotein A1 + B [ 7018 ]
  • CARDIO IQ(R) LIPOPROTEIN SUBFRACT, ION MOBILITY [ 92500 ]
  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) [ 6399 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • Cortisol, Total [ 367 ]
  • Fibrinogen Activity, Clauss [ 461 ]
  • hs-CRP [ 10124 ]
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios [ 19543 ]
  • Lipoprotein (A) [ 34604 ]
  • LP PLA2 ACTIVITY [ 94267 ]
  • Microalbumin, 24-Hour Urine with Creatinine [ 15281 ]
  • TSH [ 899 ]
  • Urinalysis (UA), Complete [ 5463 ]
     

  • Albumin (ALB) [ 223 ]
  • ApoE Genotype, Cardio IQ™ [ 90649 ]
  • Apolipoprotein A1 + B [ 7018 ]
  • CARDIO IQ(R) LIPOPROTEIN SUBFRACT, ION MOBILITY [ 92500 ]
  • CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) [ 6399 ]
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) [ 10231 ]
  • Cortisol, Total [ 367 ]
  • Fibrinogen Activity, Clauss [ 461 ]
  • hs-CRP [ 10124 ]
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios [ 19543 ]
  • Lipoprotein (A) [ 34604 ]
  • LP PLA2 ACTIVITY [ 94267 ]
  • Microalbumin, 24-Hour Urine with Creatinine [ 15281 ]
  • TSH [ 899 ]
  • Urinalysis (UA), Complete [ 5463 ]
     


High blood pressure is a perfect example of "silent but deadly." It doesn't show symptoms until later stages when it's already done significant harm to your health and your body. 

 And to make it worse, high blood pressure is more common than ever, and due to in-clinic medical costs, people are going to the doctor less often - which means they don't get diagnosed or receive the proper monitoring and control.

In the US, one out of every three adults has high blood pressure. Worried that you or a loved one are one of them? Read about risk factors and what affordable tests you can order to test your exposure, below. 

High Blood Pressure Symptoms 

Like we said above, by the time you have noticeable symptoms, like the few below, your high blood pressure is doing significant damage to your body. 

You may have advanced high blood pressure and correlating health issues if you often have: 

  • Nosebleeds 
  • Unexplained stomach issues
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate 
  • High cholesterol levels 

Since high blood pressure symptoms can lie dormant for so long, it's better to find out your diagnosis and risk as soon as possible. See if you identify with any of the risk factors for developing high blood pressure, below. 

Risk Factors 

Risk factors don't determine whether or not you contract a disease. They're simply factors that make developing that disease more likely. 

These factors are also cumulative, meaning the more you have, the higher your risk is. If you find yourself represented in two or more of the elements below, order a screening test now. 

Age Sex 

Blood pressure rises with age. It's natural and to be expected, but something to keep an eye on. Men have a higher risk of high blood pressure than women before age 64, but women's risk starts to catch up around age 65.

Race 

Though many studies have suggested that high blood pressure in African Americans is due more to socioeconomic differences and stresses than differentiating physical characteristics, people of color are more likely to have high blood pressure and correlating complications. 

Family History 

Worried you're at risk for high blood pressure? Take a look at your family tree. Like many other biological conditions and illnesses, blood pressure risk can be passed from generation to generation. 

If you don't know about your parent's health and aren't able to ask them, you can be the first generation to discover genetic risk. 

Being Overweight or Obese 

The more you weigh, the harder your body has to work to complete daily and regulatory functions. High blood pressure is sensitive to stress, including the biological stresses being overweight puts on your systems. 

Losing weight is an effective way to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing it in the future. 

Not Being Active 

Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle go hand in hand. So, it shouldn't be surprising that not getting enough exercise, even if it's something as simple as walking, is related to high blood pressure. 

Eating better, losing weight, and moving around more are all lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk.  

Smoking 

If you're an adult who smokes, you're at a higher risk for a large number of health issues. High blood pressure is one of them - even if it's second-hand smoke. 

If you've been looking for a reason to quit, here's another one: smoking is bad for your heart. 

A Sodium-Filled Diet 

Americans eat about 50% more sodium, on average, than is medically recommended. Salt causes your body to retain fluid, which raises your blood pressure. 

Eating more whole foods and cooking your own meals is an excellent way to reduce sodium intake. 

Too Little Potassium 

Even if you were eating the recommended amount of salt, if you're not getting enough potassium, you're still putting yourself at risk. 

Potassium helps the body process (get rid of) salt, and when there's not enough, sodium stays in the body, keeping your blood pressure higher for longer. 

Alcohol 

Having more than one drink a day for women, and more than two a day for men can raise your risk of developing high blood pressure. 

Drink responsibly and make sure you watch your serving sizes - your heart health will thank you. 

Stress 

High blood pressure is directly related to high levels of stress. When you're stressed, your body essentially reverts back to the primal fight-or-flight mode, which keeps you on high alert. 

Your body isn't made to stay in that highly-alert stage for more than a few minutes at a time without long periods of relaxation in between. 

When you're overstressed or stressed often, it tires out your body and causes it to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol.

Cortisol is linked to high blood pressure, weight gain/the inability to lose weight, trouble sleeping, mental disorders, and a long list of other unpleasant side effects. 

Making time to unwind and relax won't just reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, it could change your life. 

Chronic Conditions 

If you have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, kidney disease, or sleep apnea (which are all correlated with being overweight or sedentary), you're at a higher risk of high blood pressure at well. 

Thankfully, those managing other chronic conditions are more likely to see their doctor often, and get diagnosed or warned about blood pressure levels before the general public. It's a little bit of a silver lining. 

Do you have more than two of the risk factors above? Worried you already have or are at risk for high blood pressure? You can order tests from the comfort of your own home. 

Learn which tests to order (and what the results mean), below. 

Lab Tests for High Blood Pressure 

There are things you can do to lower your risk of developing high blood pressure and reduce already high levels - but you can't do them if you don't know! Get clued in by ordering a... 

1. Lipid Panel with Ratios 

Lipids are fat-like substances in your body that makeup and communicate between cells. This test takes a sample of the lipids in your blood and looks at the different levels of each type. 

While a lipid panel isn't going to give you a blood pressure reading like an arm cuff would, it will tell you if you have high cholesterol, which is correlated with high blood pressure and increases your risk of heart disease. 

2. Apolipoprotein B

Apo B is a substance that metabolizes other lipids (like cholesterol), helping them stay at healthy levels in your blood. A deficiency of Apo-B shows a higher risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. 

Order this test if you have a family history of heart disease, or suspect you do.

3. C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP)

This test is usually ordered in combination with other heart-disease related tests and is associated with the amount of infection or inflammation in the blood. 

Those with atherosclerosis, which is a side effect of high cholesterol, are likely to have a high level of CRP, which gives doctors a reason to suspect high blood pressure risk. 

4. Lipoprotein Subfraction Analysis 

We've talked a little about what lipids are, and lipoproteins are similar, but not identical. However, like lipids, they can educate us about heart disease and high blood pressure risks. 

This test uses gel electrophoresis to separate different lipoproteins found in the blood look at their sizes, their levels, and their classes. 

Results from this test can show heightened cholesterol levels (a blood pressure risk) and identifiers of other lipid disorders. 

5. Lipoprotein A 

This is another test to order if you have or suspect a family history of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, it's often ordered after a heart attack, stroke, or if your doctor suspects you have high cholesterol. 

It's often ordered in combination with a lipid panel, or some of the tests above.  

6. Fibrinogen

If your doctor is worried about frequent nosebleeds (a progressed symptom of high blood pressure), your risk of life-threatening blood clots, or any bleeding disorders, they'll order a Fibrinogen test

It looks at the coagulation of your blood, how well it clots, and the amount of functional and dysfunctional Fribrinogen in your blood. 

Your test results will have a translation of what these levels mean for your health included. 

7. CBC 

There are tens, if not hundreds, of reasons to order a CBC or a complete blood count test. It's a part of routine medical exams if your doctor suspects any blood-related disorders. 

That could be anything from cholesterol, anemia, unexplained inflammation, or when tracking treatments for long-term diseases, like HIV and cancer. 

Our test includes both platelets and differential counts, but not all do - so double check before you order, it'll save you money in the long run. 

8. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel 

No process in your body operates separately from another. That's to say that your metabolic hormones are relevant when assessing heart disease, just as they're relevant when looking at something separate, like unexplained weight gain. 

This panel will give you results including 

  • Glucose
  • Calcium
  • Protein levels
  • Sodium
  • Potassium 
  • Carbon dioxide 
  • Kidney disease tests
  • Liver tests 
  • Electrolyte levels 

If you're going to get any one comprehensive test, this is the one to purchase. You're getting ten or more tests for the price of one, even if that price is higher than other tests on this list. 

If you recall, sodium levels, potassium levels, and kidney issues are all risk factors for developing high blood pressure. 

9. Apolipoprotein A1

There are two types of cholesterol. HDL is "good" or "protective" and LDL, which is a health risk. This test measures the amount of good cholesterol in your blood. 

Having more Apolipoprotein A1 is a protective factor, which can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. Order an APO AI screening, here

10. Complete Urinalysis 

If your doctor suspects you have kidney issues, which are related to high blood pressure, they'll order a urinalysis. This is one of the most uncomplicated and painless tests to order.

Learn if you're at risk for kidney disorders, and therefore high blood pressure, with this test.  

11. Cortisol

We touched on what cortisol does in the body, above. It's a stress hormone, and it's related to a host of unpleasant health issues. 

Higher cortisol issues put you at a higher risk for developing cardiovascular problems, including (but not limited to) high blood pressure. Learn how you're managing your stress by ordering this total Cortisol test, here. 

12. Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone 

If you're experiencing shortness of breath and a rapid heart rate, it could be high blood pressure or hyperthyroidism. 

Running a TSH test will help figure out which of these likely causes are behind your symptoms, and your doctor can suggest treatment from there.

13. Lp-PLA2

Another lipid-related test, an LP-PLA2, tests your phospholipase A2 enzyme levels. Too much can be indicative of inflammation, especially atherosclerosis.

This is a general cardiovascular disease risk screening test, perfect for those wanting to learn about their general heart health, who don't have a specific disorder they want to test for in mind. Order this test, here.

14. Urine Albumin-Creatinine Ratio 

Albumin is a protein in your blood that gets filtered out in the kidneys. If your kidneys are functioning well, and you don't have kidney problems, diabetes, or high blood pressure, there should be almost none in your urine. 

Finding albumin in urine is indicative of the above problems. Creatinine is a standard urine component, and normal levels suggest a healthy metabolic system. See how your kidneys are faring by testing your ALB levels, now. 

15. APOE Genotyping 

APOE tests help us better understand how genetic cardiovascular factors are represented in an individual. 

The screening looks for different alleles (e2, e3, e4 on chromosome 19q3.2), which are genetic components related to cardiovascular disease risk, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Ordering High Blood Pressure Tests Online 

There you have it, 15 tests you can order if you suspect you're at risk for high blood pressure or want a range of general health indicators. If you're tired of waiting around at the doctor or have restrictive copays, our services can help. 

The process is simple. You order the test online, have the test done at any one of thousands of different professional diagnostic testing centers, and review your test results typically in 1 to 2 days after your blood is collected. We'll notify you when they're ready, and you'll find everything you need in your private health portal. You can then share these results with your doctor or loved ones. 

When it comes to assessing your high blood pressure risk and status, it's better to know! 

Hypertension – Causes and Lab Testing

Many people suffer from hypertension, a condition characterized by a continuous rise in blood pressure that places undue strain on the heart. Also called high blood pressure, this condition can lead to more serious heart complications over time and cause damage to other organs, including the eyes, brain, and kidneys. In the US, 46% of adults have hypertension.  

Blood pressure (BP) refers to the force exerted by the blood on the artery walls. This pressure depends on the heart’s contraction rate and strength as it pumps blood as well as the blood flow resistance through the arteries. The diameter and elasticity of the blood vessels, as well as the blood volume that flows through them, influence the blood flow resistance. The narrower the arteries and the larger the volume of blood flowing through them, the higher the blood pressure gets. Living a healthy lifestyle is an effective way to delay or prevent high blood pressure.  

It’s normal for blood pressure to rise and fall throughout the day, depending on the activity level of the person and his physical and emotional stress. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for controlling blood pressure, but it’s also influenced by different hormones such as aldosterone, catecholamine, and angiotensin II.  

Two pressures are considered when measuring blood pressure, which is measured in millimeters of mercury. Systolic pressure refers to the force that the heart exerts on the blood vessel walls when pumping blood. Diastolic pressure, on the other hand, refers to the force in between heartbeats, a period in which the heart relaxes. These two pressures are commonly written or heard as systolic over diastolic pressure. For example, a 120/80 mm HG blood pressure reflects 120 systolic pressure and 80 diastolic pressure.  

Medical professionals can’t provide a conclusive diagnosis after taking a single measurement of blood pressure. In most cases, multiple readings are performed over a period of days, and if these measurements remain consistently high, then the doctor can diagnose the patient as having hypertension.  

Normally, the diastolic pressure mirrors the systolic pressure. As people get older, however, the diastolic pressure can level out. There’s also a form of hypertension that primarily involves systolic pressure, and this condition is more common among the elderly. People who have suffered from blood pressure for a long period are at a greater risk of damage to the heart and other organs.  

Common signs and symptoms  

Hypertension rarely manifests any symptoms for most people. Many people suffer from hypertension for many years without knowing it. High blood pressure only becomes apparent when getting regularly checked by a health professional. Even patients who have life-threatening levels of blood pressure may not exhibit any symptoms. If any, they will only suffer from dizziness, headaches, and nosebleeds.  

This explains why high blood pressure is usually called the silent killer, as it increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, and blindness. As blood pressure levels increase, the higher the potential for damage. It’s crucial for people to consult a medical professional and have their blood pressure checked regularly.  

What causes hypertension?  

In most cases, the exact cause of high blood pressure is unknown, also called idiopathic. This is the most common type of blood pressure, also called essential or primary hypertension. Most American adults suffer from this form of blood pressure.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than half of the people above 50 years old suffer from hypertension. Women are just as likely as men to develop the condition, but there’s a difference in terms of the age when they could develop hypertension. Among people 45 years and below, it has been shown that more men are affected, while among people 65 years and up, more women are affected. It’s also interesting to note that African Americans have a higher chance of developing hypertension and at an earlier age compared to Americans of Hispanic or European descent.  

Although experts struggle to pinpoint the exact cause of hypertension, several factors have been identified to heighten the risk and exacerbate the problem. These include:  

  • Obesity  
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle – A severe lack of physical exercise  
  • Smoking cigarettes or tobacco products  
  • Drinking too much alcohol  
  • Adding too much sodium in daily eating regimen  
  • Using oral contraceptives or hormone therapy  
  • Using steroids, amphetamines, cocaine, and other drugs.  
  • Aging  
  • Acquiring hypertension when it runs in the family  

When high blood pressure is caused by at least one underlying health condition or the use of drugs, it’s referred to as secondary hypertension. This form of high blood pressure accounts for 5% of all cases. It’s imperative to identify the underlying condition that causes high blood pressure because its treatment can hold the key to normalizing the blood pressure level of the patient.  

Some examples of health conditions that lead to secondary hypertension include:  

  • Kidney disease or damage – Any form of kidney disease or damage can hamper the organ’s ability to get rid of salts and fluids from the body, inevitably causing a rise in blood volume and pressure. Because high blood pressure has also been shown to cause kidney damage, this can result in an endless cycle, thus requiring immediate treatment.  
  • Heart disease – A weak heart affects the contraction force and rate. This is another progressive problem that must be treated right away.  
  • Diabetes – This condition can lead to kidney damage and destroy the integrity of the blood vessels.  
  • Arteriosclerosis – This is a condition in which the arteries get unusually hard, making it difficult for them to dilate and constrict.  
  • Cushing syndrome – This disorder results in adrenal gland’s abnormal production of cortisol  
  • Hyperaldosteronism – Also called Conn syndrome, this condition involves the production of excessive aldosterone, a hormone that regulates the excretion and retention of sodium by the kidneys. In some cases, it’s caused by an adrenal gland tumor.  
  • Pheochromocytoma – This is a rare condition in which a tumor develops in the adrenal gland, usually benign. It causes an overproduction of epinephrine (adrenaline), which is produced by the adrenal glands to cope with stress. People suffering from pheochromocytoma usually deal with severe episodes of blood pressure.  
  • Thyroid disease – Blood pressure can be caused by both too much or too little production of thyroid hormone.  
  • Pregnancy – Pregnant women are susceptible to developing high blood pressure at any point during pregnancy, but most women experience it during the last trimester. At this time, it can lead to pre-eclampsia, which is characterized by heightened blood pressure and fluid retention.  

Laboratory tests for hypertension  

It’s important to understand that laboratory testing cannot diagnose hypertension conclusively, but these tests are done to identify conditions that can cause hypertension or make the problem worse. Tests are also necessary for evaluating organ function over time.  

Some of the general tests that may be necessary include:  

  • Urinalysis – This test aims to assess kidney function.  
  • Urinary albuminblood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and estimated glomerular filtration rate – These tests allow medical professionals to detect and monitor any kind of kidney dysfunction as well as evaluate the effects of medications on the kidneys.  
  • Potassium – This test is performed to evaluate electrolyte balance in the body. For instance, both Cushing syndrome and Conn syndrome can lead to low potassium, and these two are known to cause secondary hypertension. There are high blood pressure medications that upset the balance of electrolytes in the body, leading to the loss of potassium or its abnormal retention.  
  • Fasting glucose – This helps in diagnosing diabetes, which is linked to many hypertension cases. It also helps in monitoring glucose control.  
  • Calcium – This test determines the amount of calcium or ionized calcium in the blood. Overactive parathyroid glands, which lead to a boost in serum calcium, is linked to high blood pressure.  
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone and T4 – This test is used to detect and evaluate thyroid dysfunction.  
  • Lipid profile – This test helps in the monitoring of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. It can also help identify the early signs of atherosclerosis.  
  • The basic metabolic panel usually includes a combination of the tests above, so patients may not have to undergo each individual test.  

Depending on the patient’s medical history, routine laboratory test results, and physical findings, additional non-routine tests may be necessary to help in identifying, diagnosing, and monitoring health conditions that cause secondary hypertension. These tests include:  

  • Aldosterone and renin – This test helps in detecting an overproduction of aldosterone or renin, both of which can cause kidney damage or the narrowing of the arteries.  
  • Cortisol and dexamethasone suppression test – This test helps in identifying excessive cortisol levels in the body, which can be caused by Cushing syndrome.  
  • Catecholamine and Metanephrines – This test is used to detect pheochromocytoma, which can lead to severe episodes of high blood pressure.