Wednesday, April 23, 2014

High Blood Pressure - Risk Factors

Symptoms


High blood pressure is often called the "silent killer" because it usually produces no symptoms until vital organs like the heart, brain, and kidneys are damaged. Hypertension increases slowly over the years. Everyone 18 years and older should have their blood pressure measured on a regular basis. It is particularly important for anyone with risk factors to have their blood pressure checked regularly and to make appropriate lifestyle changes. Such recommendations are especially important for people who have prehypertension or hypertension, a family history of hypertension, are overweight, or are over age 40.

Symptoms of Malignant Hypertension

In rare cases (fewer than 1% of all patients with hypertension), the blood pressure rises quickly (with diastolic pressure usually rising to 130 mm Hg or higher), resulting in malignant or accelerated hypertension. This is a life-threatening condition and must be treated immediately. People with uncontrolled hypertension or a history of heart failure are at increased risk for this crisis.

People should call a doctor immediately if these symptoms occur:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Loss of vision
  • Respiratory distress (difficulty breathing)


Review Date: 04/06/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)