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Causes of Irregular Heartbeat & High Blood Pressure

author image Jamie Simpson
Jamie Simpson is a researcher and journalist based in Indianapolis with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. She earned her B.S. in animal science from Purdue University and her Master of Public Affairs in public management from Indiana University. Simpson also works as a massage therapist and equine sports massage therapist.
Causes of Irregular Heartbeat & High Blood Pressure
Irregular heartbeats may be experienced as palpitations. Photo Credit: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images

Irregular heartbeat may be felt in the form of heart palpitations. These palpitations make it feel as though the heart is pounding, racing, or even skipping beats. A person can also have an irregular heartbeat and not be aware of it. High blood pressure is defined as when the systolic, or top, number on the blood pressure reading is over 140, or the diastolic, or bottom, number reading over 90, or if both are reading too high. If the high blood pressure remains consistent over a period of time you may be diagnosed with hypertension. If no cause can be identified, this is called essential hypertension.

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Secondary Hypertension Causes

According to Medline Plus, a publication of the National institutes of Health, secondary hypertension is the result of a specific cause, such as a medical condition, habit, or medication. In other words, secondary hypertension has a known cause. Symptoms may include an irregular heartbeat, chest pain, tiredness, and vision changes. A common cause is too much salt in your diet. Alcohol abuse, anxiety, and stress may also cause secondary hypertension.

Medline Plus also states that tumors of the adrenal gland or Wilms tumors may cause an irregular heartbeat and secondary hypertension. Wilms tumors occur in children and are a type of kidney cancer. Medline Plus states that its cause is unknown, but it is the most common type of kidney cancer in children. Other kidney diseases such as inflammation of the kidneys, kidney failure, renal vascular narrowing or obstruction, or renal artery stenosis may also cause secondary hypertension.

Medications that cause secondary hypertension include birth control pills, migraine medications, corticosteroids, cold medications, and appetite suppressants, according to Medline Plus.

Medline Plus also states that arteriosclerosis, coarctation of the aorta, Cushings syndrome, periarteritis nodosa, pheochromocytoma, primary hyperaldosteronism, and other diseases may cause secondary hypertension. Those who suffer from obesity or diabetes may also be at an increased risk for secondary hypertension.

Brugada Syndrome

The Genetics Home Reference states that Brugada syndrome may cause disruption in the heart’s rhythm. Ventricular arrhythmia, which is uncoordinated electrical activity in the heart’s lower ventricles, is the result. This disruption of rhythm usually occurs during sleep and may result in fainting, seizures, difficulty breathing, or death.

The Genetics Home Reference says that Brugada syndrome affects approximately five in every 10,000 people. It is especially common in those of Japanese and Southeast Asian descent, though anyone of Asian ancestry is at a higher risk. It is eight to 10 times more common in men than women.


Tachycardia results when the rate of heartbeats in the upper chamber, lower chamber, or both increase significantly. Abnormality in the heart causes tachycardia by producing rapid electrical signals. Common symptoms include a rapid pulse rate, heart palpitations, and chest pain. Some people may have no symptoms. This disease can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death.

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