Secondary hypertension occurs when a cause for the high blood pressure can be identified. These causes include renal parenchymal disease, narrowing of the renal arteries, hyperaldosteronism (mineralocorticoid hypertension), pheochromocytoma, certain medications (e.g., prednisone, epoietin alfa [Epogen]), and coarctation of the aorta. High blood pressure can also occur with pregnancy; women who experience high blood pressure during pregnancy are at increased risk of ischemic heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, diabetes, and death from heart attack. Calcium deficiency or acid-based imbalance does not contribute to hypertension.
The medications of choice in hypertensive emergencies are those that have an immediate effect. IV vasodilators, including sodium nitroprusside (Nitropress), nicardipine hydrochloride (Cardene), clevidipine (Cleviprex), fenoldopam mesylate (Corlopam), enalaprilat, and nitroglycerin, have immediate actions that are short lived (minutes to 4 hours), and they are therefore used for initial treatment. Ramipril is administered orally and would not meet the patient's immediate need for BP management. Diuretics, such as Lasix, are not used as initial treatments and there is no indication for anticoagulants such as Coumadin.