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Understanding High Blood Pressure Symptoms

Understanding High Blood Pressure Symptoms

Max Lab

Mar 05, 2024

High blood pressure (HBP), also known as hypertension, is a common health condition that affects the arteries of the body. It occurs when the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls is consistently too high. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 1.3 billion people worldwide are affected by high blood pressure, making it essential to understand its symptoms in order to get early treatment. Some of the common reasons for high blood pressure are stress, obesity, lack of physical activity, alcohol consumption, and more.

If left untreated, high blood pressure can increase a person's risk of getting a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, eye problems, and other heart diseases.

Signs and Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Known as a silent killer among doctors, high blood pressure hardly shows any signs or symptoms. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 46% of people with high blood pressure don’t even realise that they have had it for years, making hypertension one of the most dangerous conditions. The best way to know if one has high blood pressure is to go for regular checkups or to monitor the blood pressure at home.

If blood pressure readings are 180/120 mmHg or higher, the patient could experience some high BP symptoms such as headaches, nosebleeds, or heart palpitations. Blood pressure this high is known as a hypertensive crisis and requires immediate medical attention.

Some of the alarming signs of high blood pressure that warrant immediate visits to the doctor are:

  • Recurrent Headaches

Headaches due to high blood pressure are one of the most common symptoms to look out for. Some people with high blood pressure can experience headaches if they miss their BP medication or if their blood pressure is too high. Headaches caused by high blood pressure usually occur in the morning and can be mild, moderate, or severe.

In case of a sudden, intense headache that’s significantly worse than usual, one should seek medical attention, as severe headaches can be a sign of stroke.

  • Fatigue or Weakness

Fatigue or weakness can be caused by serval reasons, however, if it's affecting someone’s day-to-day activities, then it could be a sign of high blood pressure. It can be described as a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or lack of energy. Fatigue caused by hypertension can manifest in the form of physical fatigue, mental fatigue, reduced motivation, or a combination of all.

Fatigue or weakness can also be a side effect of high blood pressure medication or other health conditions related to blood pressure, such as sleep amenia or stress.

  • Chest Pain

In case of high blood pressure, the arteries in the heart don't get enough blood, leading to high BP symptoms like chest pain. Chest pain, or angina, caused by high blood pressure, can feel like pressure or a squeezing sensation in the chest and can be mild or severe. The pain usually occurs at the centre or left side of the chest.

  • Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath is a high blood pressure symptom that can be described as difficulty in breathing properly. High blood pressure can make it difficult for blood to carry oxygen to the heart and lungs, leading to symptoms like shortness of breath.

Like other symptoms of high blood pressure, shortness of breath should be taken seriously to ensure enough oxygen reaches the heart.

  • Change in Vision

High blood pressure can lead to various vision problems, including hypertensive retinopathy, which can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina. This can result in symptoms such as blurred vision, double vision, and even vision loss in severe cases.

  • Nosebleeds

High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in the nasal passage, leading to symptoms like nose bleeding. Nose bleeding is a rare symptom and usually occurs in the case of extremely high blood pressure.

  • Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting can be an effect of high blood pressure. When blood pressure increases, it can damage or put excess pressure on the blood vessels in the brain, leading to nausea and vomiting.

In case of symptoms like nausea and vomiting, along with any other symptoms of high blood pressure, it’s essential to seek a doctor immediately to avoid any serious side effects of high blood pressure.

  • Dizziness

Although dizziness is not a direct effect of high blood pressure, it can happen due to side effects of blood pressure-lowering medicine or from other high BP conditions such as stroke and heart attack. Some hypertension medicines that can cause dizziness are:

  • Bisoprolol
  • Hydrochlorothiazide
  • Amlodipine
  • ACE inhibitors, such as benazepril, lisinopril, and ramipril

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure in Women

While the symptoms of High BP are the same in both men and women, the risk associated with it can vary. In women, things like birth control pills, pregnancy, and menopause can contribute to high blood pressure. Some general signs of high blood pressure in women include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

In a pregnant woman, some common symptoms of high BP include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting during the second trimester
  • Changes in urination frequency
  • Swelling of skin or other organs
  • General malaise

Treatment of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure treatments are done based on blood pressure readings, the cause of blood pressure, and any underlying condition of the patient. Lifestyle changes and medications are some of the common treatment methods for hypertension. Doctors generally recommend lifestyle changes in case of stage 1 hypertension.

Some of the natural ways to lower blood pressure are:

  •  Eat a healthy diet
  • Cut down your salt consumption
  • Exercise and maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol
  • Eat high-potassium food like bananas, avocados, and potatoes.

People with hypertension or high blood pressure hardly show any symptoms unless the blood pressure becomes severe. Therefore, regular blood pressure monitoring and proactive management are essential for preserving health and reducing the risk of dangerous conditions associated with high blood pressure. In case of any high blood pressure symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, chest pain, fatigue, or vomiting, consult a health care provider immediately to safeguard your health and organs.

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