High blood pressure is nicknamed the “silent killer” because it is generally a symptomless condition. Many people are under the impression that with high blood pressure symptoms like nervousness, trouble sleeping, and sweating, but that is not the case. The truth is that almost 75% of all people in the United States who suffer from high blood pressure actually know they have the disease, which leaves a quarter of the people with it in serious danger. And the reason that these people are unaware they have high blood pressure is because they do not think anything of the disease unless they are symptomatic, and in most cases when you start to show symptoms it may already be too late. There have been several so-called symptoms of high blood pressure – such as headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, and blurry vision or blood in the eyes – however these are not common or universal symptoms and should not be classified as absolute symptoms of high blood pressure.
Many people believe that headaches are a direct effect of high blood pressure, however most research contradicts this claim. The only time that headaches have been directly linked to high blood pressure are in cases of hypertensive crisis, in which the patient’s systolic pressure level was over 180 or the diastolic pressure level was over 110. The notion that headaches are associated with high blood pressure goes back to the early 1900s when it was widely assumed this was the case. The idea was debunked when a study published in the journal Neurology showed that people with a higher systolic blood pressure were actually up to 40% less likely to have headaches when compared to other people with healthy blood pressure levels. The research also looked at pulse pressure, another measurement of blood pressure that examines the change in blood pressure as the heart contracts. People with a higher pulse pressure had up to 50% fewer headaches than those with normal readings.
Nosebleeds have been thought of as a symptom of high blood pressure for years, however only in cases where hypertensive crisis was occurring did nosebleeds become a reliable symptom. One study showed that only 17% of patients treated at emergency rooms for high blood pressure had nosebleeds, while 83% showed no signs of nosebleeds. The idea of nosebleeds being a symptom of high blood pressure may stem from an unexplained rise in nosebleeds among people experiencing the early signs of high blood pressure. Nosebleeds happen due to a variety of factors, including dry air, allergies, and even blowing your nose too hard.
While there is no direct link between dizziness and high blood pressure, dizziness is not something that you should ignore. Sudden dizziness, trouble walking and loss of balance / coordination can be warning signs of serious medical conditions such as a stroke. Dizziness can also be attributed to a side effect of some medications, including some high blood pressure medicines.
People who suffer from diabetes and / or high blood pressure have been known to show blood spots in the eyes, known as subconjuctival hemorrhaging, however neither conditions have been found to be the cause of the spots. Many optometrists believe the causes of these spots and blurry vision are increased pressure behind eyes, however there has been no evidence to suggest that high blood pressure is the cause for this build of pressure.
Only in cases of severe hypertensive crisis have these symptoms been contributed to high blood pressure. Shortness of breath, severe headaches, heightened anxiety and nosebleeds are all signs of hypertensive crisis, so if you do have high blood pressure and beginning showing these symptoms you should consult a medical professional immediately to ensure that you are not suffering from serious medical complication. Although there are no real symptoms of high blood pressure, you should not rely on symptoms to determine if you might have high blood pressure. Regular blood pressure checks should start at age 18, and become more and more frequent as you get older. There are several risk factors of high blood pressure that you should be aware of to know if you are at a higher risk of developing hypertension.