High blood pressure is a common health threat that affects about 1 in 3 American adults, according to the CDC. This statistic does not include the 1 in 3 Americans who have pre-hypertension. If you are suffering from pre-hypertension or high blood pressure and have been advised by your doctor that you may need to take a blood pressure lowering drug, you might feel a little worried.
The Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
The experts call high blood pressure the “silent killer” because (they say) most of the time there are no symptoms unless the pressure spikes extremely high. But some things you feel could easily be overlooked or misconstrued and could actually be symptoms if you know what to look for. It’s possible they are just not recognized as symptoms. For example: The combination of a feeling of anxiety that is paired with a dull headache. Have you ever felt this way? Did you associate the feeling with your blood pressure? Maybe not, but maybe next time you will and check it when that feeling occurs.
Your blood pressure can affect your vision. Have you noticed times when your vision gets blurry? Have you seen an aura, even temporarily? Have you ever experienced light sensitivity? Have you noticed red spots in the whites of your eyes? These could be broken capillaries due to elevated pressure. If any of these feelings paired with the above-mentioned conditions have ever applied to you, they could be important clues you are overlooking.
Have you ever felt your heart “flutter”? If you have an irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure, you may be at risk for heart disease or a heart attack. In fact, there is a particular type of heart disease that has been associated with irregular heartbeat paired with high blood pressure. It is called “hypertensive heart disease”. Your heart is continually under the strain of the extra work it is doing and could become enlarged over time as a result.
Chest pain can result from high blood pressure as the arteries in the heart harden as they are working to pump the blood. The pains could actually make you think you are having a heart attack when in reality it is due to the pressure in the arteries. If you have these pains checked out when they occur and it turns out you are not having a heart attack, they could very well be a symptom of high blood pressure.
Have you ever had a nosebleed that was not caused by allergies or a cold? If you haven’t been blowing your nose often but suddenly you have a nosebleed accompanied by any of the other symptoms mentioned above, it could be your blood pressure is spiking and causing the tiny capillaries in your nose to burst. If this happens, you should immediately check your blood pressure. You could be having a blood pressure emergency.
Have you ever had trouble concentrating? When your blood is not circulating easily and normally, your brain may not be receiving the amount of oxygen-rich blood cells it needs to function normally. You may feel fatigue and/or “brain fog” because your circulatory system is not functioning properly under the conditions created by high blood pressure. Don’t just chalk it up to having a bad day, it could be a symptom of high blood pressure.
Have you ever felt short of breath or as if you need to breathe deeper? This could be another symptom of high blood pressure. Your brain will signal your body when not enough oxygen is being delivered system-wide. This is caused by the constriction of the small veins that feed oxygenated blood to your body’s systems.
Can you hear your heartbeat pounding in your ears? Have you ever felt a throbbing sensation in your neck or chest that corresponds with your heartbeat? This could be a symptom of high blood pressure and should not be ignored.
If you’ve noticed blood in your urine, this could be another symptom of high blood pressure. This is caused by capillary damage to the small veins in your kidneys and also should not be ignored. High blood pressure, if you don’t seek treatment, can damage your kidneys as well as your heart, eyes, and veins. Ignoring a symptom like blood in the urine is extremely dangerous.
Even if your symptoms are mild and not very alarming, your body may be trying to tell you something. Heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, aneurism, and heart disease are nothing to joke about. Learn to listen to your body carefully, but most importantly, if you feel something out of the ordinary be sure to check it out and take action.