High blood pressure can present in a variety of manners, depending upon a person’s individual physiology. In many cases, high blood pressure does not actually show any visible symptoms, but can still be diagnosed through testing.
Blood pressure that is between 130-139/85-89 mm Hg is considered to already be in the high range. Extreme hypertension is any measurement that is above these numbers, and can lead to severe health concerns. However, since symptoms can be non-presenting, it is always best for people who have a familial history of the illness to get regular physicals in order to monitor blood pressure ranges.
The truest symptom of high blood pressure is a diagnostic reading of the systolic and diastolic levels, but since even people who appear to be in otherwise good health can suffer from high blood pressure, it is also important to be aware of possible manifestations that could indicate hypertension.
Tangible Signs of High Blood Pressure
Individuals who have high blood pressure can also experience very similar symptoms, depending upon the cause of the condition. Often, people who have a vascular constriction will present differently than those who have a heart condition that contributes to the high blood pressure. For this reason, becoming familiar with possible signals can aid in receiving appropriate medical attention.
Some of the symptoms that may or may not be indicative of high blood pressure include:
- Facial flushing
- Chronic headaches
Although these symptoms are present for patients with high blood pressure, they can also be related to other conditions that are completely separate. This makes them less accurate indicators of the disease, however, if they are present with other possible symptoms for hypertension, then it is recommended that the person contacts their physician.
Further Symptoms Correlated to Hypertensive State
When the above symptoms are present with any of the following, then it is more likely that a hypertensive state is present.
Further symptoms that are more directly related to high blood pressure include:
- Fatigue that is physical and/or mental, as well as confusion and cognitive fog
- Vision problems, ranging from blurriness or tunnel vision to ocular migraines
- Chest pains, especially when trying to straighten the spine and lift the chest
- Difficulty breathing that is made worse by focusing on breathing
- Irregular heartbeat, especially one that can be felt in the temples or jaw
- Blood in the urine, due to stress induced high blood pressure that can result in kidney damage
- Pounding in the chest, neck, and ears, that may be accompanied by chills and flushing
These effects can present in mild and severe cases of high blood pressure, and can also be indicative of a crisis situation. Blood in the urine, chest pains, and trouble breathing should be addressed immediately with emergency care, while other symptoms should lead to scheduling a physical so that they can be evaluated.
Complications in High Blood Pressure
It is extremely important to address high blood pressure as soon as possible. Ignoring this condition can result in severe complications including:
- Blood vessel rupture
- Cardiac event
- Kidney failure
Although the condition can be managed, some prior damage from prolonged high blood pressure cannot be rectified. Lack of management of high blood pressure also increases the likelihood of a heart attack or other vascular event.
A hypertensive crisis occurs when blood pressure is so elevated that the circulatory system cannot keep up with the flow. The result can include a lack of response from the blood vessels or the heart, and this can result in rupture. The location of the rupture can highly affect patient prognosis, as bleeding in the brain generates a different damage than bleeding in the lung or in the leg.
Hypertensive crisis is often accompanied by all of the above symptoms, but can also include:
- Burst vessels in the eye
- Extreme anxiety
- Sudden confusion or loss of verbal capacity
- Sudden swelling and edema
If these symptoms present, then it is vital that the patient seek medical attention immediately.
Types of High Blood Pressure
Just as the symptoms of high blood pressure can cover a range of expressions dependent upon individual physiology, hypertension can itself present as several conditions. This includes:
- Malignant high blood pressure – this includes when the blood pressure is in the extremely high range and tends to rise and fall rapidly. This can lead to extreme organ damage and an increased risk of stroke, and may also be accompanied by fainting spells, light headedness, and extreme nervousness.
- Secondary high blood pressure – although this condition may mimic some of the behaviors of malignant hypertension, it tends to be indicated by a steady rise in blood pressure. It is frequently the result of outside factors, including necessary medications, diseases of the thyroid, kidneys, or adrenal glands, or weight related influencers. This type of high blood pressure is less likely to present symptoms until there is a crisis, although shortness of breath and fatigue are common.
- Renal high blood pressure – this condition is the direct result of blood pressure changes that are predicates by a kidney disease. Flushing, vision trouble, and blood in the urine are more common symptoms with this form of the illness, although management is often related to correcting the kidney failure.
Considering Physical and Mental Indications of High Blood Pressure
Since stress plays such a large part in the expression of high blood pressure, it is also true that high blood pressure can contribute to emotional responses. Since the illness can impact cognitive function and can also cause hormonal imbalances through poor circulation, psychological symptoms can also be indicators of high blood pressure. Some which are frequently reported include:
- Lack of focus
- Memory lapses
- Sudden outbursts of anger
These are even more prominent when they appear and subside suddenly and without seeming provocation. Although it is less reliable to diagnose high blood pressure through these emotional responses, the combination of physical and psychological factors can all indicate that attention to blood pressure regulation is necessary.