Hypertensive Crisis Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

By  , Expert Content
Feb 25, 2011

In most people high blood pressure is a chronic condition which causes slow but immense harm to the body like it increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. But in some people the blood pressure may rise rapidly to levels which can be considered as a medical emergency.


You have a hypertensive crisis if your systolic blood pressure is 180 mmHg or higher and diastolic pressure is110 mmHg or higher. A hypertensive crisis damages blood vessels and can cause stroke and several other complications.


If your systolic pressure is 180mmHg or higher or diastolic pressure is 110mmHg or higher your doctor will take a repeat BP measurement after sometime to verify the previous reading. Hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency which needs to be treated immediately.


Symptoms of hypertensive crisis

[Read: Symptoms of Hypertension]


Most patients with hypertension have no symptoms but people with hypertensive crisis are usually symptomatic. If you have hypertensive crisis you may have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness or difficulty of breath
  • Nosebleeds

If the blood pressure remains uncontrolled in this range it can lead to

  • Stroke
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Chest pain or Heart attack
  • Aortic dissection
  • Damage to the eyes and kidneys
  • Loss of kidney function
  • Fluid accumulation in the lungs
  • Damage to blood vessels and other organs

If your BP is very high or you have symptoms like severe headache, anxiety, shortness or difficulty of breath or nosebleed, seek immediate medical attention. Hypertensive crisis requires hospitalization for treatment of high BP. You may be treated with oral or intravenous (IV) medications.


Read more articles on High Blood Pressure

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