Doctors classify high blood pressure into two types:

  • essential high blood pressure, which is also called primary high blood pressure
  • secondary high blood pressure

What is essential high blood pressure?

When the cause of high blood pressure is unknown, doctors call it essential high blood pressure. They may also call it primary high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, in 90% to 95% of the cases of high blood pressure, the underlying cause isn't known. See what causes essential, or primary, high blood pressure? to learn more.

What is secondary high blood pressure?

When high blood pressure is due to recognizable causes that may be treated or reversed, doctors call it secondary high blood pressure. See what causes secondary high blood pressure? to learn more. Often, if your underlying problem is treated, your blood pressure will return to normal.

Your doctor will evaluate your blood pressure readings the same way whether you have primary or secondary high blood pressure. See what do the numbers mean? to learn more.