Symptoms & Signs
Usually, high blood pressure has no symptoms at all. That is why it is often called the “silent killer.” Millions of people have high blood pressure and many do not even know they have this serious condition.
Rarely, you may experience a mild headache when your blood pressure is elevated. If your headache is severe, or if you experience any of the symptoms below, you must be seen right away because these may be a sign of dangerously high blood pressure (called malignant hypertension) or a serious complication (like a heart attack).
- Visual changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pale or red skin
- Angina-like pain, crushing chest pain
Note: There are usually no symptoms.
Diagnosis & Tests
Blood pressure measurements are repeated over time. Systolic blood pressure consistently over 140, or diastolic blood pressure consistently over 90, is considered hypertension. Your doctor will look for signs of complications to your heart, kidneys, eyes, and other organs in your body.
Multiple systolic blood pressure readings between 130 and 139 or diastolic blood pressure readings between 80 and 89 is called prehypertension. Your doctor will recommend and encourage lifestyle changes including weight loss, exercise, and nutritional changes.
Tests for suspected causes (called secondary hypertension) may be performed. Essential hypertension is diagnosed when NO causes can be found.
Review Date : 6/4/2007
Reviewed By : Larry A. Weinrauch, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Private practice specializing in Cardiovascular Disease,Watertown, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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