High blood pressure is a very common health condition that is surprisingly difficult to diagnose as it rarely produces any noticeable symptoms. Due to this, it goes without saying that the most reliable way to know for sure if you might be affected is to check your blood pressure regularly.
What’s on this page?
Luckily, measuring blood pressure is fairly easy! You can do this at your general practitioner’s office, in some pharmacies and even at your home with the certified at-home testing kits. However, there are certain situations when high blood pressure can actually produce noticeable symptoms, mostly in those situations when it is dangerously high. People affected by this severe form of hypertension can notice:
- Chest pain
- Blood in the urine
- Irregular heartbeat
- Pounding sensation in one’s chest and ears
Appearance of any of these symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency that requires immediate medical attention.
However, not even this is a complete truth – there are ways for extremely high blood pressure to remain ‘hidden’ for prolonged periods of time, becoming noticeable only ones it has already caused damage and led to heart problems and related complications.
Busting hypertension symptoms myths
Due to significant level of prevalence of hypertension in the developed world, the interest of the general public for this condition is high for years now. And as is often the case with topics of interest, the amount of myths, fake statements and truths stretched too far has accumulated leading to much outright wrong information being available, especially online. Some of the most commonly told myths about high blood pressure symptoms include:
- Redness of the face
- Regular nosebleeds
- Sleeping problems
- Susceptibility to stress, anxiety and nervousness
While these symptoms are indicative of certain health problems and should be examined by a certified medical professional, they are not necessarily indicators of the presence of the condition, although they might appear in parallel to hypertension problems.
However, unlike these commonly perpetuated myths, high blood pressure is typically asymptomatic prior to developing further into so-called hypertensive crisis when nosebleeds and severe anxiety can indeed manifest.
Do I have high blood pressure? How to check?
Looking out for symptoms is obviously not a very reliable or efficient way of telling if you have high blood pressure, so the only way to determine with high degree of certainty is to get your blood pressure checked. As mentioned, there are multiple ways you can accomplish this.
People aged 40 or more are usually required by their doctors to check their blood pressure in regular five year intervals and sometimes even more frequently if there are reasons to believe that they might be at risk of developing the condition. This can be the case, for example, if they have a family history of high blood pressure or if they are active smokers, consume alcohol regularly or have a severe lack of physical activity.
Most of these risk factors can lead to younger people also being placed into the high risk group, thus requiring regular checks.
Measuring your blood pressure is simple and completely painless. Blood pressure monitor, stethoscope and a special cuff are the main tools used for the measurement, but simpler to use, digital home devices can also be easily obtained. However, if you decide to check your blood pressure by yourself, you should ensure that the model of your choice is approved by the British Hypertension Society before purchasing.
What is hypertensive crisis and how to recognise it?
As mentioned, hypertension can cause certain symptoms once it evolves into hypertensive crisis, or in other words, once the blood pressure reaches critical levels, usually defined as 180 systolic over 110 diastolic or higher. Measurement this high should be treated as a medical emergency.
Noticeable symptoms of hypertensive crisis include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Sight problems
- Severe headaches
- Chest pain
- Blood in urine
- Extreme anxiety
Please note that hypertensive crisis can quickly lead to severe health complications and should be addressed as soon as possible by a medical professional who will be able to quickly assess the condition and recommend the course of action.
Get your blood pressure checked now!
High blood pressure is not just asymptomatic – it can also be benign if properly managed. However, in order to prevent further complications and diseases of the cardiovascular system, you should check your blood pressure regularly so you can notice any problems as soon as they appear and react accordingly and timely.