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Symptoms high systolic blood pressure: What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?| Healthy You

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?| Healthy You

One in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure and many don’t even know it. How can this be? Because high blood pressure rarely has any symptoms. 

“High blood pressure or hypertension is known as a silent disease because you may not feel any symptoms at all,” says Kristine Dutton, FNP, at Riverside Mathews Medical Center.  

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against your blood vessel walls. High blood pressure is when that force is higher than normal. It often has no signs or symptoms and can lead to other health problems if it’s not treated.

Blood pressure is mostly a silent disease

Unfortunately, high blood pressure can happen without feeling any abnormal symptoms.

Moderate or severe headaches, anxiety, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, palpitations, or feeling of pulsations in the neck are some signs of high blood pressure. Often, these are late signs that high blood pressure has existed for some time, therefore annual checks are recommended for all adults.

Get to know your numbers

Because there aren’t any symptoms, it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. Get to know the numbers and when to get help from your doctor.

Your blood pressure will have two numbers:

  • Systolic is the upper number, measuring when your heart is forcing blood through your vessels.
  • Diastolic is the lower number, measuring pressure between heart beats.

For example, 120/80 indicates a systolic blood pressure of 120 and a diastolic blood pressure of 80 mm/Hg.

What is a normal blood pressure?

Both the American Heart Association and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have published guidelines for defining healthy and elevated blood pressure. You can follow either guidelines, depending on what you and your doctor agree is acceptable.

USPSTF Guidelines for Blood Pressure
NormalSystolic: Less than 120 mm Hg
Diastolic:Less than 80 mm Hg
ElevatedSystolic: 120-129 mm Hg
Diastolic: <Less than 80 mm Hg


AHA Guidelines for Blood Pressure
NormalSystolic: Less than 120 mm Hg
Diastolic: Less than 80 mm Hg
ElevatedSystolic: 120-129 mm Hg
Diastolic: Less than 80 mm Hg
High Blood Pressure Stage 1 (Hypertension)Systolic: 130-139 mm Hg
Diastolic: 80-89 mm Hg
High Blood Pressure Stage 2 (Hypertension)Systolic: 140 mm Hg or higher
Diastolic: 90 mm Hg or higher
Hypertensive CrisisSystolic: Higher than 180 mm Hg
Diastolic: Higher than 120 mm Hg

Who is at risk for high blood pressure?

Your family history, lifestyle and medications can increase the chances you’ll develop high blood pressure. Risk factors for high blood pressure include:

  • Age
  • Overweight
  • Family history
  • Diet high in salt
  • Drinking too much
  • Some medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, also known as NSAIDS, some decongestants, weight loss medicines and stimulants)
  • Some underlying health conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnea, kidney conditions, adrenal gland tumors and thyroid diseases
  • Inactivity
  • Tobacco and illicit drug use
  • Other

Unfortunately, family history is a large contributing factor. Even if you eat well, are physically active and avoid risk factors, you may still experience high blood pressure.

When to see a doctor

Consult your doctor if you fall in the at-risk or high blood pressure categories above.

If your blood pressure is in the crisis range, contact your doctor immediately. Call 911 if you’re experiencing any other symptoms like chest pain, blurred vision or slurred speech.

How is high blood pressure treated?

Treatment for high blood pressure will commonly include medication and healthy lifestyle changes such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Eating a healthful diet
  • Quitting smoking
  • Drinking less alcohol
  • Reducing stress 

“Changing a few daily habits like walking more and eating less salt can bring blood pressure into normal range,” says Ms. Dutton.

Do you know your numbers?

Schedule an appointment with Kristine Dutton today to get to know your numbers.

Our caring primary care physicians are here to help you stay on track with your health. Expert help is just a call away.


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Blood Pressure Medicines | cdc.gov

Do not stop taking your blood pressure medicine without talking to your doctor or health care team first.

Many people need to take medicine in addition to making lifestyle changes to help keep their blood pressure at healthy levels. Read more about blood pressure medicines.

How do blood pressure medicines work?

Blood pressure medicines can work several different ways. Blood pressure medicines can keep blood pressure at a healthy level by1:

  • Causing your body to get rid of water, which decreases the amount of water and salt in your body to a healthy level
  • Relaxing your blood vessels
  • Making your heart beat with less force
  • Blocking nerve activity that can restrict your blood vessels

Talk with your health care team about the best type of treatment for you. You may need to take more than one type of medicine to control your blood pressure. You can also talk to your health care team about how long it should take your blood pressure medicine to work.

It is important to take your blood pressure medicine exactly as your doctor tells you to. Do not stop taking your current medicine without talking to your doctor or pharmacist first. Stopping your blood pressure medicine without first talking to your health care team could lead to serious health consequences.

What are the benefits and risks of blood pressure medicines?

The benefits of blood pressure medicines are clear: Blood pressure medicines can help you keep your blood pressure at healthy levels and therefore greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

In general, the risks of taking blood pressure medicines are low. However, all medicines have risks. Talk with your doctor or health care professional about the risks of high blood pressure medicines.

Do not stop taking your current medicine without talking to your doctor or health care professional first.

What are the side effects of blood pressure medicines?

Most of the time, blood pressure medicines do not cause side effects. Some people have mild side effects, including dizziness, headaches, swelling in the legs or feet, or stomach problems.2

Some over-the-counter medicines, such as nasal decongestants, can also raise blood pressure and interact with blood pressure medicines. 3 Tell your doctor about any medicines or supplements you are already taking.

All medicines have risks. Talk with your doctor about the best blood pressure medicines for you, their benefits, risks, and side effects, and any other health problems you may have.

How do I know if I need medicine for high blood pressure?

Your health care team will tell you if you need medicine for high blood pressure, based on your blood pressure readings over a period of time. If you use a home blood pressure monitor, record or write down your readings.

Share your readings with your health care team so that you can make the best decision to manage your blood pressure together.

What are other ways I can lower my blood pressure?

In addition to taking medicine to control your blood pressure, you can take other steps to help keep your blood pressure levels healthy.

  • Get regular physical activity. Staying physically active is one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity helps keep your heart and blood vessels strong. It also can help you keep a healthy weight.
  • Do not smoke. Smoking damages your blood vessels and greatly increases your risk of not only high blood pressure but also heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
  • Eat healthy foods. Choosing healthy meal and snack options can help you avoid high blood pressure and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep a healthy weight. Having overweight or obesity means your heart must work harder to pump blood and oxygen around the body. Staying at a healthy weight reduces the stress on your heart and reduces your risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Learn More


  • Prevent High Blood Pressure

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

  • High Blood Pressure—Medicines to Help You
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension

American Heart Association (AHA)

  • What You Should Know About High Blood Pressure and Medications
  • Understanding Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications and High Blood Pressure
  • Managing High Blood Pressure Medications
  • Types of High Blood Pressure Medications


  1. U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2014). Medications for High Blood Pressure. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/medications-high-blood-pressure. Accessed September 27, 2019.
  2. F.D.A. (2019). High Blood Pressure–Medicines to Help You. https://www.fda.gov/consumers/free-publications-women/high-blood-pressure-medicines-help-you. Accessed September 27, 2019.
  3. American Heart Association. (2017). Understanding Over-the-Counter (OTC) Medications and High Blood Pressure. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/understanding-overthecounter-otc-medications-and-high-blood-pressure. Accessed September 27, 2019.

symptoms and risk factors for hypertension

How to recognize the symptoms of high blood pressure, what is the difference between the upper and lower indicators, what factors provoke hypertension and when high numbers on the tonometer are considered normal – we tell in this article.

Upper and lower

blood pressure

The tonometer shows two numerical values, one of which is slightly higher than the other. For example, 110/70 or 120/80. These numbers, SYS (systole, first value) and DIA (diastole, second value), indicate the work of the heart muscle in different states.

Systolic (upper) pressure pressure on the walls of blood vessels during contraction of the heart muscle (systole). A high upper indicator with a normal lower one is considered a manifestation of heart disease.

Diastolic (lower) pressure pressure on the walls of blood vessels during relaxation of the heart muscle (diastole). High lower indicator with a normal upper one is a sign of atherosclerosis or kidney disease.

Mechanical blood pressure monitor more accurate than electronic

In a healthy individual , blood pressure decreases during sleep and increases during physical activity. Its norms gradually change with age. Adequate indicators in adolescence – 110/70, in adults – 120/80, in the elderly – no higher than 140/90.

Normal blood pressure readings

Symptoms of high blood pressure

If you feel unwell, and there is no blood pressure monitor at hand, pay attention to the following symptoms . They may indicate problems with the pressure.

Signs of high blood pressure

  • Dizziness.
  • Weakness.
  • Heart pain.
  • Headache.
  • Numbness of hands and feet.
  • Nausea.
  • Noise in the ears.
  • Heart rhythm disorders.
  • Redness of the face.
  • Puffiness.

If you have measured the pressure, and it turned out to be elevated, it is recommended to repeat the measurement for at least a week. Do it at the same time and record the readings. If the pressure constantly exceeds the age norm by 15 units or more (for example, it does not fall below 135/85 at a rate of 120/80), this is a reason to consult a doctor. Regardless of age, do not allow indicators 140/90 and above.

If measures are not taken in time, there is a risk of a hypertensive crisis – a critical increase in blood pressure that threatens life.

When pressure increase

is considered normal

High blood pressure is not necessarily a sign of illness. Its short-term increase is also possible for physiological reasons :

  • 1

    Childhood and adolescence. In children, the cardiovascular system develops more slowly than the musculoskeletal system, and in adolescence, the body experiences hormonal changes. It is accompanied by mood swings for no apparent reason, which leads to jumps blood pressure. Adolescents may have higher rates at rest than during exercise.

  • 2

    Physical activity. Running, lifting weights, and other types of physical activity increase the oxygen demand of the involved muscle groups. This need is provided by an intensive blood flow due to increased heart rate and increased heart rate. Due to the forced work of the cardiovascular system, an increase in pressure during and after physical exertion is possible.

  • 3

    Stress. Situations in which a person experiences anger or fear lead to the release of adrenaline into the blood. The result is tachycardia and high blood pressure.

Normally, in all three cases , the pressure rises for a short time. This is not a cause for concern, but a cause for observation to rule out the development of hypertension .

Risk factors for hypertension

Unhealthy diet. Frequent overeating and excessive consumption of foods high in cholesterol leads to an increased risk of atherosclerosis, narrowing of the lumen of blood vessels, obesity and increased workload on the heart. The result of these diseases is high blood pressure. reasons for developing hypertension also include salty foods, strong tea and coffee (one cup of this drink briefly increases blood pressure by 10-15 units).

Erythrocytes in the lumen of a blood vessel free of cholesterol plaques

Bad habits. Alcoholic beverages increase blood pressure, so regular alcohol consumption provokes the development of hypertension. Due to reflex constriction and vasospasm – just one cigarette briefly increases blood pressure by 10-20 units.

Heredity. The chance of developing hypertension in people, one of whose parents has a history of this disease, is higher than those who have a good heredity in the cardiovascular system.

Concomitant diseases. High blood pressure is not always the result of bad habits and genetic predisposition. The cause can be heart disease (recently we talked about risk factors for developing heart disease), kidney, liver, spine and nervous system, diabetes, atherosclerosis, or improper functioning of the endocrine glands. In this case, hypertension is a symptomatic condition that is eliminated by treating the underlying disease.

Causes of increased pressure | Doctor KIT

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High blood pressure in a healthy person is a natural reaction to stress and exercise. The presence of a problem is said to be, if already with three control measurements, blood pressure exceeds 140/90. Then the diagnosis is likely – hypertension.

In most people, the disease does not cause symptoms, hence its second name: the silent or invisible killer. The first symptoms appear when the body ceases to withstand such a load on its own and critical changes occur in the vessels. The first signs are:

  • Increased anxiety.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Redness of the face.
  • Shortness of breath and dizziness.
  • Headache and pressure in the temples.
  • Pain in the chest in the region of the heart.
  • Decreased visual acuity.

Overwork, similar to the onset of a cold, is also a characteristic symptom. Accompanied by redness of the eyes, drowsiness and irritability. If the pressure at the same time approaches the extreme mark, this is an occasion to consult a doctor.

High blood pressure is divided into two categories – primary (essential) hypertension and symptomatic. The first is a chronic process, which is characterized by constant high blood pressure. The second is a symptom of other diseases of the human body.

Causes of high blood pressure in primary hypertension

It is difficult to name the exact cause of chronic hypertension. The development of the disease occurs due to violations in the mechanisms of regulation of blood pressure, which occur for various reasons. To defects in the work include poor kidney function, due to which sodium is retained in the body. The body accumulates more fluid, the kidneys do not respond to random increases in pressure during exercise and stress.

Increased activity of the nervous system can lead to BP disorders. Changes in her sensitivity may be due to genetic or environmental factors – stress, chronic fatigue or pain. With an increase in the activity of the central nervous system, the load on the heart increases.

Increased blood pressure can be caused by circulatory disorders in tissues – edema due to problems with metabolism, epithelial dysfunction.

In the elderly, blood pressure increases with age. In adolescents and young adults, the disease can be caused by environmental factors, lifestyle, or heredity. The heredity factor for essential hypertension is not disputed by doctors. So the probability of her inheritance is 30%.

Risk factors for primary arterial hypertension include:

  • An excess of saturated fatty acids in the menu, in particular cholesterol.
  • High salt content in food, such as pickles and processed foods.
  • Sedentary lifestyle and overweight.
  • Smoking and alcohol.
  • Tension, stress, nervous breakdowns.

Excess cholesterol is deposited on the walls of blood vessels, which narrows their lumen and interferes with blood flow. The structure of the arteries also changes due to an excess of salt. Excessive use of it makes the vessels fragile and impairs their elasticity.

Weight, as one of the causes of hypertension, is considered in the context of BMI – overweight. With a significant excess of this indicator, measures must be taken to reduce the risk of complications. The risk of developing arterial hypertension with overweight increases by 2-6 times, especially with the upper type of obesity, when the waist circumference increases.

Causes of secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension develops in the presence of other diseases, so its cause can be identified. A characteristic difference between the disease and primary hypertension is the absence of a gradual increase in symptoms, ranging from mild irritability to a hypertensive crisis. Moreover, secondary hypertension is more common in young people. In this case, there is an acute symptomatology and a lack of response to the standard treatment of chronic hypertension.

In this case, you should consult a doctor. There are five main categories into which the causes of secondary hypertension are divided:

  1. Renal
  2. Endocrine
  3. Neurogenic
  4. Cardiovascular
  5. Medicinal

In the first case, the patency of one or more renal arteries is disturbed, it is difficult for blood to circulate through the bottleneck, and the pressure increases. An increase in blood pressure occurs with polycystic kidney disease, with a large kidney cyst, as well as nephritis and nephropathies.

In the endocrine type, an increase in pressure can occur due to diseases of the adrenal gland tumors, disorders of the adrenal cortex – increased production of hormones. Too little or too much thyroid hormone can also cause hypertension. Changes in the work of the parathyroid glands, for example, tumors that disrupt the endocrine system, and arterial hypertension as a symptom.

The neurogenic category includes increased intracranial pressure due to tumor, trauma, stroke. The cause of increased blood pressure can be bronchial asthma, pneumosclerosis or emphysema – diseases that contribute to the retention of carbon dioxide.

Cardiovascular problems such as aortic valve insufficiency are also a cause of secondary hypertension. The symptom is also manifested in atherosclerosis.

High blood pressure is one of the side effects of some medicines. These are contraceptives containing estrogen, some antidepressants, amphetamines, and other drugs used to treat anxiety and panic attacks.

Without the intervention of specialists, primary hypertension gradually progresses and leads to the development of complications: heart failure, heart attacks and strokes. And the secondary is a symptom of critical changes in the patient’s body.