High Blood Pressure, sometimes referred to as HBP and hypertension, is shrouded in misconceptions of what a person’s symptoms will look like when the condition presents itself. (1) Many individuals who have been diagnosed with HBP have reported experiences of nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping, and skin flushing, but these are just a few of the indirectly related symptoms which may occur.
High Blood Pressure is, for the most part, a symptomless condition which needs monitoring by a doctor. Un-diagnosed (1) HBP can without intervention lead to the most severe stage of Hypertension.
All adults, beginning at age 18 should have regular doctor visits with blood pressure readings as part of their health screening. If your blood pressure readings are outside of the normal range (a systolic/top number higher than 120 or diastolic/bottom number higher than 80) your doctor may want to evaluate your blood pressure more frequently.
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Myths surrounding: High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Warning Signs
If you receive a high blood pressure reading from your doctor, remember that most patients experience no symptoms. Many people who have been diagnosed with HBP have reported experiencing nervousness, sweating, difficulty sleeping, and skin flushing, but these are just a few of the indirectly related symptoms which may occur.
The below symptoms were in the past thought to be warning signs to HBP or hypertension (a systolic/top number higher than 180 OR diastolic/bottom number higher than 110) but may have no correlation to your high blood pressure. Always notify your doctor of changes in health, so a diagnosis of the underlying causes is made by a healthcare professional (2).
Early in the 20th Century doctors believed that headaches were a sign of high blood pressure, but with our technology and advances in medicine today studies show that people with higher systolic numbers may have fewer headaches than the general.
In a research study, published in the journal Neurology, researchers found that higher systolic numbers caused blood vessels to harden, and nerve endings were less likely to function correctly; when the nerve endings are not properly function a person is less likely to feel pain. Their study found individuals with a higher pulse pressure had 50% fewer headaches than those with healthier readings.
The pulse pressure measures the change in blood pressure when the heart contracts and can be calculated by taking the difference from the diastolic and systolic numbers.
Nosebleeds can be caused by many health issues and environmental factors. Any history of frequent and heavy nosebleeds should be discussed with your doctor to determine if there is an underlying medical reason which needs to be addressed. Most often dry air, whether from the heated indoor air or in desert-like climates, is the cause of many nosebleeds, the lining of the nose becomes dry and can more easily crack the skin and bleed.
A person who blows their nose frequently due to allergies, common cold or sinusitis can cause the nasal lining to dry out. Different anticoagulant medications and aspirins cause nosebleeds to last longer.(2)
Blood Spots in Eyes
Different medical conditions can cause subconjunctival hemorrhage, or blood spots in eyes not just HBP, more commonly the related cause is Diabetes. If you have HBP, your eye doctor or ophthalmologist should check for any damage to your optic nerve which can occur in untreated patients with high blood pressure.
Flushing of the skin occurs when the body’s blood vessels dilate. Skin flushing is our body’s natural response to many factors such as exercise, topical creams and skin products, wine and alcohol consumption, as well as skin’s exposure to the wind or hot water. It is possible that your facial skin will flush when blood pressure rises as in response to an emotional stress but most times high blood pressure is not the cause.
One side effect of many HBP medications is dizziness; patients may experience this sensation but it typically not due to the HBP but rather the medication. Loss of Balance or Coordination and lightheadedness, which occurs suddenly or frequently, can be a serious warning sign of a stroke. People with HBP are at higher risks for strokes so always consult your healthcare professional when sudden changes in your well-being occur.
Pregnancy and High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure occurs during pregnancy for a number reasons including obesity, smoking, alcohol use, kidney problems, carrying multiple babies (i.e., twins or triplets), being over the age of 40 as well as a lack of exercise. In most cases blood pressure returns to normal ranges after birth, but there are dangers to prolonged High Blood Pressure during pregnancy.
Long-term HBP, which lasts past 20 weeks of gestation, may lead to preeclampsia. In the mother, preeclampsia can cause organ damage and fatal seizures. (3) One sign may be constant headaches, but your doctor can test urine samples for proteins, as well as visually evaluating swelling which commonly occurs in the ankles, feet and hands. High Blood Pressure can result in premature births, placental abruption and may require caesarean delivery.
When to contact your Doctor
Always consult your doctor regarding changes in your health and daily overall feeling of well-being. A healthcare professional is best for monitoring your blood pressure, but you can in between doctor visits utilize the public health fair screenings in your neighborhood or machines located at many pharmacies. (3) Your results may not be as accurate due to incorrect cuff size or inaccuracy of machine
If you fear that your blood pressure may have risen, and you are in a hypertensive crisis, you should go directly to an Emergency Room or Facility for treatment. If you are in hypertensive crisis, you may experience severe headaches, severe anxiety, and shortness of breath and/or nosebleeds.