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Understanding High Blood Pressure -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of High Blood Pressure?

In the vast majority of cases, there are no clear symptoms of high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and eye problems if untreated. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. This is especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for, including:

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Is your blood pressure higher than it should be? Lower than the high blood pressure range, but still above normal? That's prehypertension, and it may be more serious than you think. Prehypertension is between 120-139 for the first number in your blood pressure reading, and/or 80-89 for the second number. Nearly 30% of American adults have prehypertension, according to the CDC. What's the risk? You're more likely to get high blood pressure (hypertension). Also, you may be more likely to have a...

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  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine

If you have any of these hypertension symptoms, see a doctor immediately. You could be having a hypertensive crisis that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

 

Call Your Doctor About High Blood Pressure If:

  • Your diastolic pressure -- the second, or bottom, number in a blood pressure reading -- suddenly shoots above 120 ,or your systolic pressure, the first number, is over 180; you may have malignant hypertension (also known as ''hypertensive emergency''), a life-threatening condition that can result in heart attack, stroke, kidney and eye problems.
  • You are experiencing severe headaches, nausea, blurred vision, and confusion or memory loss; this may be a sign of malignant hypertension.
  • You are pregnant and develop hypertension; symptoms may include severe headache and sudden swelling of the legs. High blood pressure during pregnancy can affect not only your own health, but also the health of your unborn child.
  • You're taking drugs for high blood pressure and experiencing worrisome side effects, such as angioedema (swelling of your mouth or tongue), drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, or loss of sexual function; your doctor may prescribe a different anti-hypertensive drug.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on March 26, 2014

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