What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
One of the problems with high blood pressure is that it doesn’t really have any symptoms. The only way to diagnose this potentially dangerous condition is to measure your blood pressure over an extended period. You may have high blood pressure and yet feel perfectly healthy, and for this reason it’s often referred to as a silent disease.
While it is so often symptom free, high blood pressure can cause the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Vision problems
- Blood in your urine
- Heart palpitations
- Stomach pain
If you experience a combination of these symptoms on a regular basis, you should talk to your GP.
Extremely high blood pressure readings i.e. those of 180/120 and above are considered to be emergencies and require urgent medical attention, especially if the readings are accompanied by the following symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision or difficulty speaking.
Age is a factor affecting high blood pressure because the chances of developing it increase as you get older. You might be at greater risk if you have a history of high blood pressure in the family or if you are of African or Caribbean origin. Some lifestyle causes of high blood pressure can include eating too much salt, not getting enough exercise, being overweight or obese, regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol, smoking and long-term sleep deprivation.
You can alter some of your lifestyle choices to help decrease the chances of developing high blood pressure. The most important factors concern your diet and your habits. To keep blood pressure down, it’s advisable to quit smoking, limit your alcohol intake and to reduce your caffeine consumption. You should also ensure you eat the recommended 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day and reduce your intake of salt. Lastly, sleeping well is an important factor in reducing your risk of developing high blood pressure – at least six hours per night is recommended.