User Tools

Site Tools


Lymphedema and High Blood Pressure


Does lymphedema cause hypertension (high blood pressure)?

Another question that often surfaces in the online lymphedema groups regards whether or not lymphedema can cause hypertension.

There is clinical evidence that some syndromes, such as Klippel Trenaunay Weber, for example) that present with lymphedema as a complication can have venous hypertension as a complication as well. (1)

It is also possible that the destruction of the pulmonary lymphatics may be responsible for arterial hypertension. (2)

Finally, there are Trisomy disorders that can present with lymphedema and venous or pulmonary hypertension as complications. The type of hypertension that is most common with these syndromes is pulmonary hypertension..

But, there is no scientific or clinical evidence to subtantiate that lymphedema in and of itself (whether primary or secondary) causes high blood pressure.

This is also confirmed by the National Lymphedema Network in their publication Lymphlink, January 1999 issue.

Lymphedema, High Blood Pressure and Diuretics

Even though diuretics are contraindicated for lymphedema, they are prescribed for high blood pressure. It is important for the lymphedema patient with high blood pressure to be compliant with their physicians treatment program and take faithfully as prescribed their diuretic. With lymphedema and any accompanying condition, you must treat the most life threatening condition as priority.

High blood pressure is referred to as the “silent killer” for a reason. Please work with your doctor to bring your high blood pressure under control and maintained.

  • Do not assume your high blood pressure is a complication of lymphedema
  • Do not ignore your high blood pressure
  • Work with your doctor on a treatment/management program


(1.) Hemodynamic impairment, venous segmental disease, and clinical severity scoring in limbs with Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome.

(2.) The effect of cardiopulmonary lymphatic obstruction on heart and lung function.

Pat O'Connor

July 16, 2008

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is a serious illness that affects nearly 65 million adults in the United States. High blood pressure is often called a “silent killer” because many people have it but don't know it. Over time, people who do not get treated for high blood pressure can get very sick or even die.

What does high blood pressure do to your body?

High blood pressure can cause life-threatening illnesses like kidney problems, stroke, heart failure, blindness, and heart attacks.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can have high blood pressure. Some people are more likely to have high blood pressure including:

  • African Americans
  • People over age 55
  • People with a family history of high blood pressure

Your chances of having high blood pressure are higher if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Eat foods high in salt
  • Do not get regular exercise
  • Smoke
  • Drink alcohol heavily

What are the signs of high blood pressure?

Many people with high blood pressure do not feel sick at first. The only way to know for sure is to get your blood pressure checked by a doctor or other health professional.

How is high blood pressure treated?

There are medicines people can take every day to control their high blood pressure. Only your doctor can tell if you need to take medicines.

How does high blood pressure affect pregnant women?

A few women will get high blood pressure when they are pregnant. When pregnant women get high blood pressure, it is called preeclampsia or toxemia.

How do I control my high blood pressure?

  • Check your blood pressure.
  • Take your high blood pressure medicine every day if needed.
  • Exercise often.
  • Eat foods low in salt.
  • Lose weight or keep weight at a healthy level.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Limit alcohol.

Talk to your doctor regularly about your pressure.

U.S.Department of Health and Human Services

Understanding your blood pressure: What do the numbers mean?

When you have your blood pressure taken at the doctor, you are told 2 numbers like 120/80. Both numbers are important.

The first number is your pressure when your heart beats (systolic pressure). The second number is your pressure when your heart relaxes (diastolic pressure).

Your blood pressure goes up and down during the day, depending on what you are doing. Brief rises in blood pressure are normal, but the higher your blood pressure stays, the more at risk you are.

If your blood pressure is often greater than 140/90, you may need treatment.

If your blood pressure is greater than 120/80, and you have other risk factors, like diabetes, you may need treatment.

Recognized Causes of High Blood Pressure

Primary or essential hypertension (90-95%)

Secondary hypertension: A small percentage of patients (2-10%) have a secondary cause. The following is a list of secondary causes of hypertension:

Renal (2.5-6%)

  • Renal parenchymal disease
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Urinary tract obstruction
  • Renin-producing tumor
  • Liddle syndrome

Renovascular hypertension (0.2-4%)


  • Coarctation of aorta
  • Vasculitis

Collagen vascular disease

Endocrine (1-2%) - Oral contraceptives


  • Primary aldosteronism
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia

Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism





  • Brain tumor
  • Bulbar poliomyelitis
  • Intracranial hypertension

Pregnancy-induced hypertension

Drugs and toxins

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Cyclosporin
  • Erythropoietin
  • Adrenergic medications


External Links

Your Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure

Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure – Mission Impossible

Hypertension and High Blood Pressure Health Center


What Is High Blood Pressure?

Lymphedema People Links

Lymphedema People Resources

lymphedema_and_high_blood_pressure.txt · Last modified: 2012/11/19 09:39 by Pat O'Connor