High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and strokes. It affects one in three adults in the United States, many of whom don’t know they have high blood pressure because it often has no symptoms.
One of the most dangerous aspects of high blood pressure is that you may not know that it’s damaging your arteries, heart and organs until it is too late. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
But sometimes there are signs that your blood pressure is way too high.
Here are the some of the main symptoms of hypertension:
- Dizziness. We usually associate dizziness with low blood pressure, but if you get dizzy spells along with shortness of breath and some chest pain, it may be due to dangerously high blood pressure.
- Nosebleeds. Not all nosebleeds are signs of hypertension, but when they happen along with other symptoms like headaches and chest pain, it could indicate high blood pressure.
- Severe headache. A sudden, very severe headache without any other obvious cause can signal a hypertensive crisis — when your blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels. This is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment to prevent potentially life-threatening complications such as heart attack or stroke. Other symptoms include shortness of breath and nausea or vomiting.
- Pain in the chest or shortness of breath. When your arteries are thickened and clogged with plaque, they become narrow and stiff, which limits the amount of oxygen that they can supply to your heart. This makes it harder for your heart to pump enough blood through your body and results in shortness of breath, chest pain and sometimes even a heart attack!