What You Need To Know About High Blood Pressure

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  • High blood pressure is one of the most common health problems around. And not only is it potentially fatal, it can be asymptomatic (without symptoms) or be accompanied by symptoms that may be misleading, like vision problems or a severe headache. Other, more obvious signs include difficulty breathing; chest pain; blood in the urine; irregular heartbeat; a pounding feeling in chest, neck or ears. If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.
  • What's Hypertensive Emergency? When severely high blood pressure damages organs, it’s called hypertensive emergency. The only way this can be treated is in the intensive-care unit. In the hospital, tests will determine organ damage. With hypertensive emergency, organs that can be damaged include the brain (confusion, coma, aneurysm or stroke), the heart (angina, heart attack) and the lungs (pulmonary edema, meaning fluid in the lungs).
  • Signs Of Hypertensive Emergency Symptoms of hypertensive emergency include severe headache; chest pain; seizure; difficulty breathing; or edema—a swelling of tissues. Treatment includes IV administration of medications to lower blood pressure as well as treatment designed for the specific affected organ.
  • Hypertensive Urgency A lesser-known condition, hypertensive urgency, occurs when you have a rise in blood pressure, but without damaging any organs. This condition can usually be treated by using blood-pressure medication and bringing your numbers back to normal within a few hours.
  • Be Proactive Be sure to monitor your blood pressure regularly, have your eyes checked for bleeding or swelling, and have your blood and urine tested. Your doctor can talk to you about diagnosis, prevention, medication and lifestyle changes.