Hypertension Symptoms & Warning Signs
For most cases of mild to moderate hypertension, there are no symptoms. In fact, the condition has earned the nickname "silent killer" since the disease shows no symptoms until it progresses to a stage where permanent damage and severe problems such as heart attacks and strokes can occur.
Some people with mild to moderate hypertension experience headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, and shortness of breath. Other possible symptoms include heart palpitations (irregular heartbeat), fatigue, and impotence. If you experience these symptoms, you should visit a doctor immediately to determine whether the cause is hypertension or another medical condition.
A doctor will be able to tell whether your blood pressure is high by using a standard blood pressure monitoring test. If your high blood pressure is chronic, it is likely that you suffer from hypertension. Over time, even moderate hypertension can cause enduring problems such as strokes or heart disease.
Severe cases of hypertension cause symptoms of painful headaches, confusion, hallucinations, vision problems, nausea, and vomiting.
Infants and children with hypertension may show similar or different symptoms. Children and newborns may experience seizures, lethargy, and respiratory problems. They may also seem irritable. Children might complain of headaches, fatigue, and vision problems - they might have trouble sitting through class, participating in sports, and doing homework.
For some adults, infants, and children, hypertension may result from an underlying cause such as diabetes or Cushing's syndrome. Generally, these conditions produce additional symptoms that are unique to the specific disorder.
People with hypertension will experience chronic high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for severe medical conditions such as renal failure, aneurysms, heart attacks, and strokes. High blood pressure can also significantly lower your life expectancy, so you should listen to your doctor's recommendations for keeping your blood pressure under control.
Normally, a medical professional will take your blood pressure each time that you visit the doctor's office. If your blood pressure is repeatedly high over several weeks, then the doctor may diagnose you with hypertension. In very rare situations, people only experience high blood pressure when they visit the doctor. This phenomenon occurs because the doctor's office, for some people, can be a very stressful environment. You may be misdiagnosed with hypertension if your blood pressure is falsely high. At-home blood pressure monitoring kids are relatively inexpensive and readily available at local drugstores, so you may benefit from monitoring your blood pressure on a daily basis at home. This way, you can monitor your symptoms more closely for an accurate diagnosis.
There are two general types of hypertension. The first, primary or essential hypertension, occurs without a clear cause. This type of hypertension occurs as a result of a combination of factors including diet, lifestyle, activity levels, and heredity. The second type of hypertension, secondary hypertension, occurs as a symptom of an underlying health condition. Once you treat the underlying condition, the secondary hypertension should go away.
Secondary hypertension tends to be rarer than primary hypertension. As a result, the underlying medical condition may go unnoticed if the doctor has no reason to perform additional diagnostic tests. The doctor may only treat you for primary hypertension, leaving the true problem untreated. For this reason, you should report all unusual symptoms to your doctor as soon as possible.
You may notice that your blood pressure and symptoms fluctuate with different medications. Some prescription and non-prescription drugs can cause your blood pressure to become elevated. Talk to your doctor about whether your medication is causing changes to your blood pressure.
If you have a family history of hypertension or high blood pressure, it is important that you pay attention to your blood pressure tests. You may not notice other symptoms, so make sure that you pay close attention to any changes in your body.
If you have recurring headaches, you should have your blood pressure monitored regularly to make sure that your blood pressure is not elevated or fluctuating. Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and intense headaches are symptoms of other underlying conditions such as a thyroid or hormone disorder. Symptoms of extremely high blood pressure may lead to more serious problems such as seizures, convulsions, and blindness.
Hypertension could also be a warning sign of more serious underlying conditions. It is recommended that patients follow up on their blood pressure tests with blood tests and other routine physical exams.