What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Although some people with high blood pressure have symptoms, such as headaches or dizziness, most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms at all. That is why it is so important to have your blood pressure checked regularly by your healthcare provider. This is especially important if you are someone who is at higher risk for hypertension. If you have already been told that you have high blood pressure, it is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly by your healthcare provider to make sure that it is staying controlled.

Blood pressure is classified in the following way:
• Normal: a blood pressure reading of less than 120/80
• Pre-hypertension: a blood pressure reading of 120/80 or greater, but less than 140/90
• Stage 1 hypertension: a blood pressure reading of 140/90 or greater, but less than 160/100
• Stage 2 hypertension: a blood pressure reading of 160/100 or greater

If your healthcare provider thinks you have high blood pressure, he or she will want to check it more than once to be sure. It may be checked a second time during your visit. Or you may be called back for another visit to have it checked again. Sometimes blood pressure rises when people get it checked simply because they are nervous.High blood pressure often causes no symptoms, even if severe. You can have high blood pressure for years without knowing it. That is why it is called a silent killer. The only way you can tell if your blood pressure is too high is to have it measured.

High blood pressure is often asymptomatic. People with severe high blood pressure may experience the following symptoms:
• dizziness
• flushed face
• nervousness
• headache
• fatigue and weakness
• restlessness
• difficulty breathing
• nose bleed
• insomnia
• intestinal complaints
• emotional instability
Primary hypertension is often asymptomatic until complications develop, such as stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure.

You can find out if you have high blood pressure by having your blood pressure checked regularly. Most doctors will diagnose a person with high blood pressure on the basis of two or more readings, taken on several occasions. A consistent blood pressure reading of 140/90 mmHg or higher is considered high blood pressure, another term for hypertension.

Some people experience high blood pressure only when they visit the doctor's office. This condition is called "white-coat hypertension." If your doctor suspects this, you may be asked to monitor your blood pressure at home or asked to wear a device called an ambulatory blood pressure monitor. This device is usually worn for 24 hours and can take blood pressure every 30 minutes. In this section you will learn more about diagnosing high blood pressure.

You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by adopting a healthy lifestyle. These steps include maintaining a healthy weight; being physically active; following a healthy eating plan, that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and lowfat dairy foods; choosing and preparing foods with less salt and sodium; and, if you drink alcoholic beverages, drinking in moderation. In this section you will learn more about healthy lifestyle habits for preventing and controlling high blood pressure.





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