About Us
Contact Us


Right adrenal adenoma 
on MRI (above)

Fatty build-up (atherosclerosis) in an artery (below)



Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is common affecting around 1/3 of Australian adults. Lifestyle measures such as healthy eating, maintaining a healthy weight and regular exercise can help control blood pressure but many people will require medication. High blood pressure is defined by a pressure above 140/90, but ideal blood pressure is lower than 130/80. 

Elevated blood pressure can cause a lot of medical problems including heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Careful treatment of blood pressure is essential to avoid these potential complications.

Most patients with high blood pressure don't have a specific identifiable cause - this group is called primary or essential hypertension. People who have high blood pressure at a young age or have blood pressure that is difficult to control require more thorough investigation for the cause, as recognition of the cause may enable a cure.

Potential secondary causes of high blood pressure include:

  • Conn's syndrome: a growth of one of the adrenal glands (known as an adrenal adenoma) that produces too much of the hormone aldosterone. This hormone causes salt and water retention that increases blood pressure. This can be screened for with a simple blood test.
  • Cushing's syndrome: excess production of the steroid hormone known as cortisol, can cause weight gain, muscle weakness and high blood pressure.  This can be screened for either using a blood or urine test.
  • Renal artery stenosis: the main blood supply to the kidneys is provided by the renal (kidney) arteries. If these arteries become narrowed by the build up of fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) then high blood pressure results.  This can be screened for using ultrasound, CT scan or MRI.
  • Phaeochromocytoma: This is another rarer type of tumour of the adrenal gland that can cause severe hypertension, that may be episodic and associated with attacks of palitations and sweating. It is caused by a tumour that produces the hormones adrenaline or noradrenaline
  • Sleep apnoea: This is a  sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing  during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnoea, can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur many times each hour. It is more common in people who are overweight and who snore. Symptoms include daytime fatigue and headache, due to the poor quality sleep overnight. Sleep apnea is diagnosed with an overnight sleep test called a "sleep study".

Site Map