5 Common Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Blood Pressure Readings
The only conclusive indication of high blood pressure is a high reading on a blood pressure test. You can buy a battery-powered blood pressure monitor to check your pressure at home, or you can have your blood pressure tested at a doctor's office. The test takes less than a minute and can be repeated easily to confirm the findings. Avoid drinking caffeine or smoking cigarettes before your test, empty your bladder, and try to sit still and calm yourself for a few minutes before being tested. If your blood pressure registers consistently at 140/90 or higher, your doctor is likely to prescribe blood pressure medication.
Nosebleeds related to blood pressure occur only in cases of severely high levels. While 17 percent of those treated at a hospital emergency room for a hypertensive crisis did suffer nosebleeds, a nosebleed on its own is not evidence of high blood pressure. People with high blood pressure do seem to suffer more nosebleeds than those without the condition, but most nosebleeds are caused by factors such as dry air, allergies or reactions to medication.
Headaches are also a symptom typically associated with high blood pressure only in extreme instances. A headache that is caused by high blood pressure is a sign of a hypertensive crisis that requires immediate medical attention, as it may be a precursor to a stroke or heart attack. While it was thought in the early 1900s that headaches were related to high blood pressure, subsequent scientific studies have not borne out this belief.
Blood Spots in the Eyes
Extreme and untreated high blood pressure may, over time, cause blood vessels in the eye to burst, possibly damaging vision or causing blindness. Blood spots in the eye occur more frequently in those with high blood pressure than in the general population, but no one should assume he is safe from high blood pressure because his eyes are free of spots. Since high blood pressure can damage the optic nerve, seeing an ophthalmologist is a good idea for anyone experiencing high blood pressure or any eye-related symptoms.
Dizziness can be a symptom of high blood pressure, but it can also be a reaction to high blood pressure medication. While there are many causes of dizziness, one is an impending stroke, which can be the result of untreated high blood pressure.
High blood pressure, which occurs when blood pushes against the inner lining of the arteries with a greater force than normal, can cause permanent damage to the heart, kidneys and brain, as well as the blood vessels. However, high blood pressure is easy to ignore because it is a largely symptomless condition. About one-third of the people who have high blood pressure are completely unaware of it. Getting your blood pressure checked, which is a simple, quick and painless procedure, is the only way to confirm whether or not you have high blood pressure. A handful of other symptoms sometimes accompany the condition, but their absence doesn't mean your blood pressure is OK.
By the time you experience a combination of these symptoms, your high blood pressure is probably at a dangerous level. Don't wait for symptoms; get your blood pressure tested regularly, especially if you are at risk due to family history, obesity or a history of smoking.