High Blood Pressure Symptoms – What You Need to Know

High blood pressure symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, and chest pain. Monitor your blood pressure regularly.

High blood pressure is common and affects arteries in the body. It happens when blood pushes too hard against the artery walls. This makes the heart work harder to pump blood.1 It’s measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

Hypertension is generally at a reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher. It can lead to heart attacks and strokes if untreated. It’s crucial to check your blood pressure often. Staying active and eating well helps manage or prevent high blood pressure.

Key Takeaways

  • High blood pressure is a common condition that can increase the risk of serious health problems.
  • Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and hypertension is generally defined as a reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher.
  • Regular blood pressure checks and healthy lifestyle habits are crucial for managing and preventing high blood pressure.
  • High blood pressure can often develop without any noticeable symptoms.
  • Addressing risk factors, such as age, race, and lifestyle factors, can help prevent the development of high blood pressure.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Definition and Overview

High blood pressure is when the force of blood against your arteries is too high. This makes the heart work harder to move blood around your body.1

Blood Pressure Measurements

Blood pressure is shown with two numbers, like 120/80 mm Hg. The top number is the systolic pressure, and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure.1

Categories of Blood Pressure Levels

The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association set different levels for blood pressure. They have categories like normal, elevated, stage 1 and stage 2 hypertension.1

If your blood pressure is below 120/80 mm Hg, it is normal. If it’s between 120-129 systolic and under 80 diastolic, it’s elevated.1

Stage 1 hypertension includes readings like 130-139 systolic or 80-89 diastolic. For stage 2 hypertension, the numbers are 140 or above for systolic and 90 or above for diastolic.1

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

Many folks with high blood pressure don’t feel any symptoms. This is true even if their blood pressure is very high. It’s known as the “silent killer” because it’s hard to detect early on.1

Most People Have No Symptoms

Most people don’t show any symptoms if they have high blood pressure. Without any signs, it’s tough to know it’s there. This makes high blood pressure very risky since it often goes unnoticed.

Potential Signs and Indicators

Yet, some with overly high blood pressure might notice signs. These can include headaches, trouble breathing, and nosebleeds.1 But, these signs are not unique to high blood pressure. They tend to show up only when things are very serious.

When to See a Doctor

It’s vital to keep a close eye on your blood pressure. The American Heart Association says all adults should have it checked every two years from age 18.1 If you’re over 40, or between 18-39 and at risk, check it yearly.2 Anyone with high blood pressure or heart disease risks needs even more checks.1

Importance of Regular Checkups

Even 3-year-olds need their blood pressure watched at checkups.1 If a doctor’s not easy to visit, look for free checks at health fairs or stores and pharmacies.

Recommendations for Blood Pressure Screening

After 40, everyone should get a blood pressure check every 5 years.2 Those of African, Afro-Caribbean, or South Asian descent might need checks sooner.2 If you face a higher risk, check it once a year.2

Checking often is key since high blood pressure’s sneaky. Many times, it shows no symptoms.3

high blood pressure screening

Causes of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, falls into two main categories. These are primary hypertension and secondary hypertension.4

Primary Hypertension

The most common type is primary hypertension, also called essential hypertension. It has no known single cause.4 People usually get it over time, often due to plaque in their arteries.1

Secondary Hypertension

Secondary hypertension is triggered by a medical issue or certain drugs.4 It shows up more quickly and can cause higher readings than primary.4 Things like adrenal tumors, kidney problems, and sleep apnea can lead to it. Also, drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, and some birth control pills can be triggers.4

Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, affects many people and can harm health. It’s vital to know the risks to stop it or manage it. Risk factors include age, gender, race, family history, and how you live.

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Age and Gender

Getting older raises the chance of high blood pressure.5 Men face higher risks until around age 64. Then, women are more likely to have it.5

Race and Family History

Some races and ethnicities have more high blood pressure risks.5 Black, Hispanic, and Asian men often have higher rates. This is when compared with other groups.5 Having a family member with high blood pressure boosts your odds too.1

Lifestyle Factors

How you live can up your risk for high blood pressure.1 Things like being overweight, not being active, eating too much salt, and drinking a lot can add up. So can bad habits in kids.1 Also, a diet full of sodium, calories, unhealthy fats, and sugar can also push up your blood pressure.5

Medical Conditions

Some health issues also make high blood pressure more likely.5 This includes kidney disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea. Plus, many people with high blood pressure also have high cholesterol. And most people with diabetes get high blood pressure too.5

high blood pressure risk factors

Recognizing and dealing with these risk factors helps prevent and control high blood pressure. This lowers the chance of severe health problems.

Complications of Untreated High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious issue. It can harm the body’s blood vessels and organs. This happens because the force of blood running through the arteries is too high.1 If left untreated, the damage can be severe.1

Untreated high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes. It can also damage the kidneys and eyes, leading to possible blindness.6 These health risks are life-threatening without proper care.6 Moreover, it increases the chances of other heart and brain issues.6

This condition is risky for the kidneys and eyes as well. It might cause kidney failure or eye problems like blindness.6 Men with high blood pressure could face sexual problems.6

In extreme situations, it can lead to sudden health crises. These include blindness, chest pain, problems during pregnancy, and memory issues.6 The chances of severe heart or brain conditions go up with uncontrolled high blood pressure.6

So, it’s crucial to get help if you have high blood pressure. Doctors can set up a treatment plan to keep you healthy. This is key for a strong heart and avoiding serious health problems.16


Diagnosis and Testing

Checking high blood pressure often means getting several readings from a doctor. The American Heart Association says your diagnosis should come from two or more checks, done at different times. This gives the most accurate result.2

Professional Blood Pressure Measurements

Doctors use machines that are automatic to check your blood pressure. These devices show your blood pressure in two numbers. The top number is your systolic pressure, and the bottom is your diastolic pressure.2

If the reading shows 140/90mmHg or higher, it could mean you have high blood pressure. But, readings may vary slightly based on where you check, like at a pharmacy or at home. Normal blood pressure is lower than 120/80mmHg, but for some older adults, it could be slightly higher.2

Home Monitoring

Keep track of your blood pressure at home too, between visits to the doctor. Don’t worry too much if just one reading is high at home.2

If your home device shows high readings, don’t panic. Take another check and write them down. Then, talk to your doctor about the results and any worries. This is good advice.2

Management and Treatment Options

Dealing with high blood pressure involves different strategies, such as changing your daily habits and sometimes taking medicine.1 It’s key to eat well, move often, and find ways to be less stressed. These steps are great for stopping hypertension in its tracks.1

Lifestyle Changes

Making major shifts in how we live can really help handle high blood pressure. Start with a diet that’s light on salt and big on fresh foods.7 Adding exercise to your routine and finding ways to deal with stress are also crucial.1 If you smoke, give it up7. Also, drink less and keep your weight in check to outsmart high blood pressure.1

Medications for High Blood Pressure

If you need more than lifestyle changes, doctors can give you medicine for high blood pressure.8 Meds like diuretics or ACE inhibitors might be used, depending on your situation.7 It’s all chosen carefully based on factors like your age, background, and health issues.7

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Often, a mix of new habits and medicine is the best route to a healthier blood pressure.1 This plan is put together just for you, so you can get your numbers where they should be and keep them there.

Prevention of High Blood Pressure

Preventing high blood pressure is something we can do. Eating well is a big part of it. A diet low in sodium but high in fruits, veggies, and whole grains helps. These changes can stop high blood pressure from starting.1

Healthy Diet

Eating a diet that’s low in salt is key to avoiding high blood pressure. It’s about choosing real, healthy foods over processed ones. This helps keep our blood pressure where it should be.1

Regular Exercise

Moving our bodies often is good for our blood pressure, too. Things like running and lifting weights have big health benefits. They help keep our heart strong, aid in losing weight, and lower our blood pressure.1

Stress Management

Working on stress is important for avoiding high blood pressure. Practices like meditation and deep breathing can calm us. With less stress, there’s a lower chance of getting high blood pressure.9 These habits are strong guards against it.

Living with High Blood Pressure

If you have high blood pressure, managing it every day is key.6 Checking your blood pressure at home often is important.10 It helps spot any big changes early. It’s vital to take your medication as the doctor said. Skipping doses could make your blood pressure hard to control again. This raises your health risks.10

Monitoring and Tracking

Keeping an eye on your blood pressure at home is a must.10 This way, you can watch how it changes over time. You and your doctor can then tweak your treatment as needed. Staying proactive and involved in your care is important. It helps you watch your condition closely and make smart choices.

Medication Adherence

Taking your blood pressure pills every day is very important.10 If you miss them, your blood pressure could rise a lot. This raises the chances of having health problems. If you’re having trouble with your medication, talk to your doctor. They can help you find a plan that works best for you.

Ongoing Care and Support

Keeping in touch with your doctor and going to checkups regularly is key.10 It allows for tweaks in your care that can help keep your blood pressure in check. Also, support from those close to you or from local resources is vital. It gives you the push and advice needed to handle your condition well.

High Blood Pressure in Children

High blood pressure is often linked to adults, but kids can get it too.11 It might be because of health issues with the kidneys or heart. Or, it could be from not eating well and not being active.11 Doctors check kids’ blood pressure regularly to catch it early. Then, they help families find the right ways to treat it. This could mean changing what the child eats, moving more, and sometimes using medicine.11 It’s key to handle high blood pressure early to avoid problems later.

11 When a child’s blood pressure is at or above the 95th percentile, it’s considered high. This takes into account their sex, age, and height. For teenagers, numbers equal to or higher than 130/80 mm Hg are seen as high, just like in adults.11 Things like too much weight, bad eating habits, and not getting enough exercise can cause high blood pressure in children and teens.12

11 Primary hypertension, which comes without a clear cause, happens more in kids over 6.11 Things like being overweight, high blood pressure in the family, and certain health issues can up the risk.11 Smoking, not moving enough, and even just being exposed to secondhand smoke can make it worse.11 High blood pressure could also be a sign of other health problems, like with the kidneys or heart. Low thyroid function, or sleep issues, can be factors too.11 Certain drugs or using substances can also push up a child’s blood pressure.

11 If high blood pressure sticks around from childhood into adult life, it raises the risk of some scary health issues. This includes heart attacks and kidney problems.11 Changing how a child lives, by focusing on a healthy weight, less salt, and more exercise, can help a lot.11 Sometimes, treating the original health problem can also lower the blood pressure.

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12 Kids should get their blood pressure checked at most doctor visits.12 Teens’ blood pressure is good if it’s below 120/80 mm Hg.12 For younger children, staying below the 90th percentile for their sex and age means their blood pressure is okay.12 There are different levels of high blood pressure for kids, depending on their age and size.12 Doctors know what’s healthy for each age group.

12 To find out why a kid might have high blood pressure, the doctor might do more tests. This could include blood work, checking the heart with an EKG, and scans to look at the heart and kidneys closer.


High blood pressure, or hypertension, is common and affects the body’s arteries. It raises the risk of serious health problems if not treated.13 Many people with high blood pressure don’t show any signs. So, getting checked often is key.13 By knowing and dealing with risks like age, family history, and lifestyle, you can avoid high blood pressure.14

It’s important to stick to a treatment plan. This could be changing how you live and taking medicines. It helps keep high blood pressure under control and lowers the chance of heart issues.13 Learning to watch and manage high blood pressure early on lets you stay healthy.1314

Keeping up with the latest info on high blood pressure summary and key takeaways is a good idea. It helps you make smart choices about your health.15 By changing your daily habits, getting regular checkups, and following a treatment that fits you, you can keep high blood pressure in check and reduce the risk of serious health problems.


What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, means the blood force against your arteries is too high. It makes the heart work harder to pump blood around the body.

How is blood pressure measured and categorized?

Blood pressure gets measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It has two parts: systolic (top) and diastolic (bottom) pressure. There are four categories based on numbers: normal, elevated, stage 1, and stage 2 hypertension.High blood pressure is split into two main types. Primary hypertension is common but its cause is unknown. Secondary hypertension happens due to other health issues or certain medicines.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Most people with high blood pressure don’t feel different. But severe cases might cause headaches, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds.

How often should I have my blood pressure checked?

Adults should have their blood pressure checked once every two years. This starts at age 18. If you’re over 40 or at higher risk, get it checked every year.

What are the different types of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure has two main types. Primary hypertension has no clear cause and is most common. Secondary hypertension comes from other health issues or medicines.

What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?

Age, race, family history, and lifestyle influence high blood pressure risk. This includes obesity, low activity, and health conditions like kidney disease or sleep apnea.

What are the potential complications of untreated high blood pressure?

Not treating high blood pressure can lead to serious problems. These include heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and loss of vision.

How is high blood pressure diagnosed?

Diagnosis checks your blood pressure several times, usually by a doctor. Keeping track at home can help too, between checkups.

How is high blood pressure treated?

Managing high blood pressure includes lifestyle changes and sometimes, medicine. Eating well, staying active, and keeping stress levels low are key.

How can I prevent high blood pressure?

Avoiding high blood pressure involves a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management. Techniques like meditation can help too.

Can high blood pressure affect children?

Yes, kids can have high blood pressure too. It’s important for them to get regular checkups for early detection.

Source Links

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410
  2. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/diagnosis/
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327320
  4. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/blood-pressure-causes
  5. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/know-your-risk-factors-for-high-blood-pressure
  6. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868
  7. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/treatment/
  8. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20373417
  9. https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventhighbloodpressure.html
  10. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension
  11. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure-in-children/symptoms-causes/syc-20373440
  12. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21150-high-blood-pressure-in-children
  13. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/159283
  14. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prehypertension/symptoms-causes/syc-20376703
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10487958/