High Blood Pressure: What Are The Symptoms?

  • Hypertension can be asymptomatic that’s why it is called the “silent killer”
  • Usual symptoms of having high blood pressure include blurred vision, chest pains, headaches and nosebleeds — though these can also be symptoms of an underlying medical condition.
  • Having regular blood pressure readings can help you manage hypertension.

High blood pressure is when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is strong or high.

Roughly 1 out of 3 adults in the United States have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (or hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Hypertension does not exhibit symptoms most of the time that is why it is known as a silent killer but people who have exhibited high blood pressure have exhibited these symptoms:  nosebleeds, headaches, sweating, difficulty sleeping, nervousness, dizziness, and blood spots in the eyes.

But these may also be symptoms for other underlying health conditions and or side effects of medications.

Have your blood pressure monitored regularly and properly by a health professional to know if you are hypertensive or not.

A normal adult blood pressure reading would be 120/80. The top number (systolic) indicates the pressure in the arteries as the heart beats. The lower number (diastolic) indicates the pressure as the heart rests between beats.

The American Heart Association classifies high blood pressure in adults in this table:

Normal blood pressureElevated blood pressureStage 1 hypertensionStage 2 hypertensionHypertensive crisis
Systolic blood pressureless than 120 mm Hg120–129 mm Hg130–139 mm Hg140 mm Hg or higher180 mm Hg or higher
Diastolic blood pressureless than 80 mm Hgless than 80 mm Hg80–89 mm Hg90 mm Hg or higher120 mm Hg or higher

If you have a sudden, severe headache or nosebleed. If you have a blood pressure of more than 180/120 mm Hg, after taking a rest, immediately seek medical help.

Chest pain, blurred vision and shortness of breath, are symptoms of a hypertensive crisis. Call 911 immediately.

Getting dizzy after taking hypertensive pills is a usual side effect of the pill.  But if it persists even after taking the pill, seek medical help.

In a study with 1.25 million participants, complications from hypertension are higher risks from a range of cardiovascular diseases like heart failure, heart attacks, angina, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm.

What are the causes and risk factors for developing hypertension?

1.   Genetics– A person has a 30-50% chance of inheriting hypertension.

2.   Lifestyle/Environmental factors

A.  Excessive salt intake (consume no more than 1 tbsp of table salt/day according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI))

B.  Low potassium intake- American heart Association (AHA) recommends 4,700 mg/day of potassium to help the body remove salt (sodium)

C. Weight- for every kilogram lost or 2.2 pounds, you lower your blood pressure by around 1 mm Hg.

D.  Exercise: According to a 2015 study, aerobic exercise could reduce blood pressure by 5-7 mm Hg.

How to Prevent Hypertension?

The American Heart Association recommends:

1.       Low salt diet

2.       Quit tobacco smoking

3.       Manage/lower stress

4.       Maintain a healthy weight

5.       Limit alcohol intake

6.       Enjoy a regular physical activity

7.       Healthy diet of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-tropical vegetable oils, low fat dairy products, nuts and legumes, skinless poultry and fish and avoid salt (sodium), saturated and trans fats, sweet and sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat.

The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) may be beneficial in helping to prevent or treat high blood pressure.

Summary

As a silent killer because hypertension is asymptomatic, we should maintain a healthy diet, stop smoking, exercise regularly, and maintain a blood pressure of 120/80. If you experience shortness of breath, blurry vision, chest pain, headache, nosebleed, and a blood pressure of 180/120, seek immediate medical help.

Source: Medical News today



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