Know Your Numbers: The Signs Of Hypertension That Need Immediate Medical Attention

Know Your Numbers: The Signs Of Hypertension That Need Immediate Medical Attention

Taking Hypertension Seriously

High blood pressure (BP), or hypertension, is a leading cause of heart attack or stroke. This condition impacts half of American adults, with many undiagnosed. High BP can severely damage blood vessels over time, leading to many cardiovascular risks. There are several risk factors for hypertension, including age, weight, race, and pre-existing medical conditions. Certain drugs, diet, stress, and lack of exercise also play a role in the rising hypertension rates. Doctors recommend periodic blood pressure checks to keep on top of readings that can lead to dangerous symptoms and complications.


Recognizing your BP numbers

Blood pressure is measured by checking systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic refers to how much pressure blood exerts against the artery walls during contractions. This number should be 120 or below. Diastolic pressure measures the force against the artery walls between contractions. This number should be less than 80 for people in good health. A blood pressure reading between 120/80 and 129/80 is considered elevated, while hypertension starts at 130/80 and above.

Is hypertension a silent threat?

The higher the BP reading, the more at risk the person is for a hypertensive episode or crisis. However, some people can have hypertension with minimal symptoms, making the condition a dangerous issue if left unchecked. Asymptomatic hypertension is unique and often underestimated. However, the gradual damage to the cardiovascular system leads to increased risks of strokes, heart attacks, and other serious complications over time. Regular blood pressure monitoring is essential to find cases of asymptomatic or mild hypertension and take measures to keep blood pressure within healthy ranges.

Code red

Elevated blood pressure can continually damage blood vessels leading to the heart and other vital organs. Certain symptoms, such as severe, unexplained headaches, chest pain, and difficulty breathing, can be a warning sign of a severe medical episode. Other symptoms requiring medical attention include nosebleeds, blurred vision, severe anxiety, dizziness, fainting, or blood in the urine. The goal is to seek help at an emergency room (ER) if symptoms are severe and do not subside over a short period. The doctors can provide medication while performing additional tests to detect possible health risks.

Your future with hypertension

High blood pressure can go undetected for years. Periodic checks at the doctor’s office or with an at-home BP monitor can help people keep on top of hypertension. If readings are elevated, or there is a family history of hypertension, more frequent checks may be advised. A reading above 130/80, along with symptoms such as headache and chest pain, requires urgent attention. Knowing when to seek medical care can help people with hypertension feel prepared to manage the disease.

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