World Hypertension Day 2022: High blood pressure is called silent killer not without a reason. Most of the times, there are no noticeable signs of hypertension and even if you have some symptoms, you may not immediately act upon it dismissing it as routine tiredness, work pressure or exertion. Ignoring BP issues can however prove deadly and in worst cases it can cause a heart attack, heart failure, aneurysm, stroke, memory problems or dementia. Monitoring blood pressure regularly is the key to evade risk of serious illnesses. (Also read: Blood pressure basics: How to measure BP at home, ideal range, risks of high BP)
Around 1.13 billion people worldwide suffer from hypertension and the condition is more common in men than women. However, only 1 people in 5 have it in control while others still face the risk of developing complications from it. The incidences of hypertension have seen a sharp rise across the world and while earlier it was common in the older age groups, now we get to see many new cases of young people with hypertension.
"We should not ignore some of the common symptoms of high blood pressure like severe headache, blurring vision, breathing difficulty, especially breathlessness on exertion, chest discomfort, and easy fatigability. High blood pressure can affect your health and cause serious complications if it is left untreated," says Dr. Rajesh Budhiraja, Associate Director- Internal Medicine, Asian Institute of Medical sciences, Faridabad.
Here are some warning symptoms of high blood pressure you should never ignore as per Dr Narayan Gadkar, Cardiologist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital.
1. Nose bleeds: Nose bleeds not only occur due to sinusitis or blowing the nose constantly but even when one’s blood pressure is high. If you are one of them who has encountered nose bleeding then just report it to the doctor.
2. Headaches: If you have a throbbing headache all the time then your blood pressure may be high. A majority of people who blood pressure may have a headache. These unpleasant headaches will steal your peace of mind. So, be vigilant and seek timely treatment.
"Patients experiencing severe headache, especially in the occipital area (posterior part of skull) are the ones who should immediately get their BP checked," says Dr Honey Savla, Consultant Internal Medicines, Wockhardt Hospital.
3. Fatigue: Are you unable to do your office work or household chores with ease then this can be due to high blood pressure. Feeling exhausted even after doing nothing? Try to reach your treating doctor for further evaluation.
4. Shortness of breath: One may also have difficulty breathing when his/her blood pressure is high. This is one of the common symptoms of hypertension.
5. Blurred vision: Untreated hypertension can alter one’s vision. Thus, one will encounter vision problems. His or her vision will be blurred.
"One more sign of hypertension is blurring of vision or developing black spots in your visual field or sudden complete loss of vision are the symptoms which should be taken seriously," says Dr Savla.
6. Chest pain: It is seen when one’s blood pressure is high. Try to take immediate treatment after you notice these symptoms. Ignoring these symptoms can lead to serious complications in later life.
Can high blood pressure land you in ICU?
"Hypertension can have a disastrous effect on the heart resulting in the hardening and thickening of the heart arteries thereby, causing the heart to receive less blood supply, in worst cases, it can cause a heart attack besides other life-threatening conditions brought about by affecting other organs," says Dr Budhiraja.
"Patients with high blood pressure may also develop chest pain and restlessness and some may develop myocardial infarction i.e. heart attack as a result of long uncontrolled hypertension. There is a serious condition called hypertensive heart failure which may present as low oxygen levels, difficulty in sleeping due to breathlessness (due to water filled in lungs) along with swelling over legs and chest pain and such patients if not treated on time, will end up in ICU. Epistaxis i.e. bleeding from nose can occur as a serious complication of high blood pressure and may also call for urgent ICU admission. Hence it is best to do regular health check-ups, get diagnosed on time and treated as soon as possible," says Dr Savla.
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, there is plenty that you can do on a day-to-day basis to keep it in check.
- You can begin with a healthy diet followed by maintaining a healthy weight, being more active, and staying away from smoking and alcohol.
- In addition, tweaking other daily habits can go a long way to help keep your readings in check.