Hypertension constitutes one of the most common diseases leading patients to the Outpatient Departments. Idiopathic hypertension is the prevailing type, but on the other hand, the possible presence of clinical entities responsible for the development of secondary hypertension should never be underestimated. We retrospectively studied 447 subjects aged between 20 and 84 years old and diagnosed with hypertension, who were thoroughly evaluated for secondary hypertension. Our analysis demonstrated that 35 out of the 447 subjects were fi nally diagnosed with secondary hypertension, representing a relative frequency of 7.8%. Most common causes of secondary hypertension identifi ed in our study group were: glucocorticoid intake (n = 14), obesity hypoventilation syndrome (n = 6), obstructive sleep apnea (n = 2) and preeclamspia (n = 2). Several other causes are also reported. Our study, conducted in a single center in Northern Greece, confi rms previous reports concerning the prevalence of secondary hypertension among Greek patients, shedding light on potential pathophysiologic mechanisms. In conclusion, a high proportion of hypertensive individuals still feature have an underlying cause, thus, diagnostic work-up should be thorough and exhaustive, in order the correct diagnosis to be made and the targeted treatment to be initiated.
B a c k g ro u n d: Arterial hypertension (HTN) ranks among the most widespread chronic illnesses that affect adults in industrialized societies. The main goal of this study was to describe the control (inhibition) processes among HTN patients, and to evaluate the dynamics of brain activity while the patients were engaged in tasks measuring the cognitive aspect of self-control. P a r t i c i p a n t s a n d p ro c e d u re: A set of neuropsychological tests (California Verbal Learning Test, Color Trails Test, The Trail Making Test, Controlled Oral Word Association Test), and a fMRI Stroop test (rapid event design) were administered to 40 persons (20 HTN patients and 20 controls). Groups were matched in terms of age, sex, education, smoking history, and waist-to-hip ratio. R e s u l t s: As revealed by fMRI, the HTN patients demonstrate left-hemisphere asymmetry in inhibitory processes. Also around 90% of patients had problems when completing tasks which rely on verbal and graphomotor aspects of self-control. C o n c l u s i o n s: The results suggest that both cerebral hemispheres must interact correctly in order to provide successful executive control. The deficiencies in control and executive functioning, which were observed among the patients, prove that HTN negatively affects brain processes that control one’s cognitive activity.