Mnemonic Monday: No More Freaking Out! Mnemonics for HTN

By Molly Lewis

Use these mnemonics for HTN, and keep your own BP within range!

Here are two mnemonics to help you remember the causes of high blood pressure/HTN/hypertension: one for essential HTN, and one for secondary.

They’ll help you with patient diagnosis, ward rounds pimping, and when you’re counseling your patient how to live a healthier life!

(Bonus fact: the word “pimping” comes from an acronym, like many of our mnemonics! It stands for “Put In My Place.” When you can’t answer the pimping questions, you’re “put in your place” – and reminded to go memorize some more mnemonics!).


No More Freaking Out!ScHOLARS:


High salt +/or alcohol/ETOH intake (salt > 2400mg / day; ETOH > 5 drinks / week for women or 7 / week for men)

Obesity (especially excess abdominal fat)

Low physical activity (aerobic exercise < 3 times / week)

Age (> 65 y.o.)

Race (African ancestry)

Stress (less substantiated by research than the other risk factors, but it appears to be a cause nonetheless! If you’re curious, try a PubMed search- for example:[Title]%29%20AND%20hypertension[Title]%29%29%20NOT%20oxidative[Title]%29)

    • Other risk factors include:
      • Diabetes mellitus (or even just insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia)
      • Hyperuricemia (supposedly via renal afferent arteriole thickening / constriction)
      • Family history of HTN +/or CAD (coronary artery disease)
      • Sleep apnea
      • Low fruit and veggie intake (goal = at least 4-6 servings / day)
      • Dyslipidemia

      This mnemonic (with some modifications by me) comes courtesy of a follower: Isaac Dodd (Howard University College of Medicine, MS2) – thank you so much for your contribution!

      Check out my previous mnemonic post that features another mnemonic by Isaac: Provocative Pathophysiology: Factors that Provoke HTN



      The diseases below are several of the potential causes of secondary HTN. Suspect these in patients with HTN and without the risk factors above (But careful! It’s possible to have both essential and secondary HTN!).

      To read more, check out: )


      Cushing syndrome

      Hyperaldosteronism [aka Conn’s syndrome]

      Aortic coarctation


      Stenosis of renal arteries


Do you have a mnemonic for HTN? (for risk factors, or for anything else!) – Post it below!



  • Essential HTN mnemonic: + Rapid Review Pathology, 4/e, by Edward J. Goljan – p. 236
  • Essential HTN risk factors:
  • Secondary HTN mnemonic:

Related Articles