Are there any symptoms of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure (medically known as hypertension) has earned the nickname “silent killer” exactly for this reason: It usually doesn’t cause symptoms, but gradually damages your blood vessels and vital organs over time.
Having said that, there are a few symptoms which may be indirectly related to high blood pressure:
- facial flushing;
- blood spots in the eyes.
Symptoms of high blood pressure usually do appear when it skyrockets. This is known as hypertensive crisis, in which the blood pressure is extremely high (180/120 mmHg or higher). If your blood pressure meter shows such a high number and it doesn’t come down within a few minutes, and you also have symptoms, don’t hesitate to call 911.
Symptoms of an emergency hypertensive crisis are the following:
- intense chest pain;
- severe headache, occurring along with confusion and visual disturbances;
- blood in urine;
- severe anxiety;
- loss of consciousness.
What complications may arise from poorly controlled high blood pressure?
If you have high blood pressure and it’s not treated properly, it can lead to heart disease, kidney failure, erectile dysfunction, vision loss, vascular dementia (cognitive decline due to damage to the vessels supplying the brain with blood), and even life-threatening events, such as a heart attack and stroke.
How to bring your blood pressure under control
To bring down your blood pressure and prevent it from causing damage throughout the body, your doctor will recommend certain changes in diet and lifestyle. If your blood pressure is too high, you’ll have to take medicines to control it.
The following measures will help keep your blood pressure at bay:
- eating a heart-healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and less salt, sugar, alcohol, and saturated fats;
- not smoking;
- regular exercise on most days of the week;
- regularly monitoring your own blood pressure at home using a blood pressure meter;
- taking your blood pressure medicines as your doctor prescribed;
- practicing stress-reduction techniques.
The bad thing about blood pressure is that it’s symptomless until it starts to cause significant damage to your organs and vessels. The good thing is, high blood pressure can be lowered with the right lifestyle adjustments and medicines. Have your blood pressure checked, and, if the numbers are elevated or high, start taking steps to bring it under control.
Source: American Heart Association, HealthLine, MedicineNet, WebMD