Causes

The cause of primary hypertension is not known; however, it is known that the disease is associated with risk factors such as genetic predisposition, stress, obesity, and a high-sodium diet. Secondary hypertension results from underlying disorders that impair blood pressure regulation, particularly renal, endocrine, vascular, and neurological disorders; hypertensive disease of pregnancy (formerly known as toxemia); and use of estrogen-containing oral contraceptives.

The cause of malignant hypertension is also not known, but it may be associated with dilation of cerebral arteries and generalized arteriolar fibrinoid necrosis, which increases intracere-bral blood flow, resulting in encephalopathy.

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