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What is high blood pressure?

Symptoms of High blood pressure

ANSWER

Blood pumping through the circulatory system is under pressure, much like the water in the pipes of a house and just as too much water pressure can damage pipes and faucets, high blood pressure can spell trouble. Hypertension occurs when the force exerted against artery walls is abnormally high. Over time, the increased pressure can cause a wide range of problems. Small bulges, called aneurysms, may form in blood vessels. The heart can become enlarged, increasing the danger of heart failure. Damage to blood vessels in the kidneys can cause them to fail. Because tiny blood vessels in the eyes are especially vulnerable to damage, hypertension can lead to vision problems and even blindness.

One of the most dangerous aspects of hypertension is that you may not know that you have it. In fact, nearly one-third of people who have high blood pressure don’t know it. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is through regular checkups. 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:

  • Severe headache
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears

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

Untreated hypertension can lead to serious diseases, including stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and eye problems.

When to Call Your Doctor About High Blood Pressure

Hypertension symptoms? Often there aren’t any. High blood pressure is often called the “silent” disease, because it may have no noticeable symptoms.
If undetected and untreated, hypertension can cause heart disease (including congestive heart failure and heart attack), stroke, and kidney disease. That’s why it is important to have regular physical examinations to make sure your blood pressure is within the normal range. This is especially important if your blood pressure has ever been high, if you have a family history of hypertension, or if you are gaining weight.If you are being treated for high blood pressure, your doctor can answer any questions or concerns you may have during your regular visits. However, there may be situations that warrant a call to your doctor. For example:

  • If you aren’t responding to the treatment your doctor prescribed and your blood pressure is still high
  • If you have certain symptoms, including fatiguenausea, shortness of breath, lightheadedness, headache, excessive sweating, palpitations or irregular heartbeats, problems with your vision, or confusion; these may be serious and should warrant prompt medical attention. They could be from uncontrolled high blood pressure or from medication side effects.

If you have any concerns about your condition, don’t hesitate to call your doctor.

Source: WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Suzanne R. Steinbaum, MD on May 23, 2018


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