The AHA continues to call hypertension (high blood pressure) the “silent killer.” There are no concrete symptoms for high blood pressure. Headaches, dizziness, and nosebleeds (epistaxis) are not usually caused by high blood pressure, unless the patient is in hypertensive crisis (systolic 180 or greater and/or diastolic 120 or greater). In this case, you should call 911. Facial flushing may occur with high blood pressure, but high blood pressure is not the cause of facial flushing. Factors such as spicy foods, sun exposure, cold weather, hot drinks, medical conditions, and exercise are more of the cause of facial flushing. Although dizziness is not the cause of high blood pressure, it may be a side effect of some blood pressure medications. In addition to extreme blood pressure readings, severe headaches and nosebleeds, patients may also experience severe anxiety and shortness of breath. Again, it must be stressed that if your patient is in hypertensive crisis (systolic 180 or greater and/or diastolic 120 or greater) they must receive emergency care immediately – call 911.
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