One in every three adults in the United States suffers from a condition that may lead to coronary heart disease or stroke, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. High blood pressure, or hypertension, means the force of blood hitting against the walls of the arteries is high enough to cause damage. For an adult, the systolic BP should stay under 120. The bottom number, or diastolic, remains less than 80. Anything above those numbers is an indicator of potential risk.
Hypertension is often referred to as “the silent killer” because it is often present with no obvious symptoms. When blood pressure rises, your symptoms may be negotiable. To monitor BP, medical professionals automatically take a reading with every visit. You should have your blood pressure taken at least once every two years.
The early stage of the condition is when you are most likely to show some signs of a problem. The medical community defines prehypertension as a systolic rate of 120 – 139 and a diastolic in the range of 80 – 89. Possible symptoms include:
- Mild, dull headache
- Dizzy spells
When the blood pressure reaches the level that you are hypertensive, symptoms will disappear. A person is hypertensive when the systolic BP goes above 140, and the diastolic is over 90. Hypertension has two stages. Once the blood pressure exceeds 160/100, you are in stage 2. Neither stage produces symptoms.
Hypertensive crisis means there is a sudden spike in the blood pressure taking it over 180/120. Symptoms of a hypertensive crisis include:
- Chest pain
- Severe headache
- Blurred vision
- Shortness of breath
The person having the crisis may become unresponsive over time. Hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency.
“High blood pressure (hypertension): Symptoms – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/DS00100/DSECTION=symptoms
“What Is High Blood Pressure? – NHLBI, NIH.” NIH Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/>.
“Hypertensive crisis: What are the symptoms? – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypertensive-crisis/AN00626>.