What are the signs of high blood pressure? | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

There are no warning signs of high blood pressure

The only reliable sign of high blood pressure is the data from a blood pressure cuff. There are no outward symptoms of high blood pressure, unless you are severely ill in need of emergency treatment.

The only reliable sign of high blood pressure is the data gathered by a blood pressure cuff. There are rarely outward symptoms of high blood pressure, unless you are severely ill and in need of emergency treatment. That is why it is called a “silent killer.”

Occasional headaches, nosebleeds, blood spots in the whites of your eyes, flushed face and dizziness aren’t the only indications of chronic high blood pressure. Put another way, whether you experience those symptoms or not, you still can have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can be an emergency. A hypertensive (high blood pressure) crisis is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately if you have a blood pressure reading of 180/120 or greater along with chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, weakness, vision changes or difficulty speaking.

Blood pressure check

Regular visits with your primary care provider will include blood pressure readings. You can also visit a Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens clinic.

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Left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke or heart failure. Also, those with high blood pressure might be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blood pressure levels vary from person to person, but a bright line you don’t want to cross is 140/90. If that happens, make an appointment with your physician, as you’ll likely need to make changes to your diet, exercise and other lifestyle choices. Medication may be necessary.

Without any outward signs to warn you, getting your blood pressure checked regularly can help you stay healthy.

How often to get your blood pressure checked

  • Once a year if you are age 40 or older or at risk for high blood pressure (African American, overweight, sedentary, drink too much, don’t eat a healthy diet or have a condition such as kidney failure, diabetes or heart disease)
  • Every three to five years if you are between 18 and 40 without a risk factor for high blood pressure

You can have your blood pressure checked during a regular visit with your primary care provider. Other options include Norton Prompt Care at Walgreens clinics, which offer evening and weekend hours.

Reviewed by Mostafa O. El-Refai, M.D., M.S., MBA, interventional cardiologist with Norton Heart & Vascular Institute


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