Book an appointment Feather-communication-phone
High Blood Pressure / Hypertension Signs and Symptoms

Blog Hypertension

High Blood Pressure: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

writtenByWritten by: Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer Nelson

Jennifer is a contributing health writer who has been researching and writing health content with PlushCare for 3 years. She is passionate about bringing accessible healthcare and mental health services to people everywhere.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewBy Reviewed by: Dr. Katalin Karolyi
Reviewer

Dr. Katalin Karolyi

Katalin Karolyi, M.D. earned her medical degree at the University of Debrecen. After completing her residency program in pathology at the Kenezy Hospital, she obtained a postdoctoral position at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Orlando, Florida.

March 9, 2021 Read Time - 5 minutes

High blood pressure increases your risk for a variety of other serious health complications, including heart attack, kidney disease, and stroke. The good news is that high blood pressure is treatable with diet, exercise, and medication. Here’s everything you need to know about high blood pressure.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

What Is Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Your arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body.

What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean?

The “top” number is called systolic blood pressure, and it measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The “bottom” number is called diastolic blood pressure and measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

A measurement of 120 systolic and 80 diastolic is written as “120/80 mmHg” and said out loud as “120 over 80 millimeters of mercury.”

What Are Normal Blood Pressure Numbers?

Normal blood pressure is between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg.

What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?

Also called hypertension, high blood pressure involves consistent blood pressure readings that are higher than 140/90 mmHg (according to 2003 guidelines) or 130/80 mmHg (according to 2017 guidelines).

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Many factors can cause high blood pressure, such as genetics, health conditions, and environmental factors. 

Some people are genetically predisposed to high blood pressure. Hypertension can also occur during pregnancy, or it can be the result of other health conditions. Some common high blood pressure causes include:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Chronic stress

Hypertension can also be the result of poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking or not getting enough exercise.

High Blood Pressure Symptoms

Most people with high blood pressure have no signs or symptoms, even after their blood pressure reaches dangerously high levels. 

In most cases, the symptoms of high blood pressure only occur when an individual’s blood pressure reaches life-threatening levels. High blood pressure symptoms include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision problems

How Do You Feel When You Have High Blood Pressure?

Since high blood pressure rarely causes any symptoms, it is unlikely that you will feel any different with high blood pressure.

What Problems Can High Blood Pressure Cause?

High blood pressure can cause or contribute to a number of health problems. In particular, high blood pressure tends to affect your heart, brain, and kidneys.

Heart Disease and Heart Attack

High blood pressure makes your arteries less elastic, damaging them and decreasing the flow of oxygen and blood to your heart. Decreased blood flow to your heart can cause:

  • Heart failure, which means that your heart cannot pump enough oxygen and blood to your other organs.
  • Heart attack, which is when the blood supply to your heart becomes blocked and the heart muscle begins to die due to a lack of oxygen.
  • Chest pain, which is also called angina.

Brain Problems and Strokes

High blood pressure can cause a blockage or burst in the arteries leading to your brain, which results in a stroke. Strokes can be fatal or cause debilitating problems with movement, speech, and functioning in daily life.

Kidney Disease

High blood pressure and diabetes are two of the most common contributing factors to kidney disease.

How to Lower Blood Pressure

There are several ways to lower your blood pressure. According to the National Institutes of Health, “pharmacological therapy is very effective in lowering blood pressure,” as well as in preventing cardiovascular disease complications.

If your blood pressure is only slightly elevated, you may only need to take medication or change your diet to lower it. If you have higher blood pressure, you may need to take a multipronged approach to manage it.

High Blood Pressure Medication

There are several different types of medications for hypertension treatment, and you may need to take more than one to effectively lower your blood pressure. Some of the most common types of high blood pressure medications include:

  • Diuretics (water pills) help your kidneys eliminate sodium and water from the body.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) block the action of a natural chemical that narrows blood vessels.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors block the formation of a natural chemical that narrows blood vessels.
  • Calcium channel blockers help relax the muscles of your blood vessels.

Combination of medications might work better, especially if your blood pressure is resistant to your former medications. Call your doctor to find the therapy that works for you.

High Blood Pressure Diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is an approach to healthy eating that is designed to help prevent and treat high blood pressure. The DASH diet recommends lowering your sodium (salt) and alcohol intake and adding the following foods to your diet:

  • Grains: 6–8 servings a day
  • Vegetables: 4–5 servings a day
  • Fruits: 4–5 servings a day
  • Dairy: 2–3 servings a day
  • Lean meat, poultry, and fish: up to 6 one-ounce servings a day
  • Nuts, seeds, and legumes: 4–5 servings a week
  • Fats and oils: 2–3 servings a day
  • Sweets: 5 servings or fewer a week

Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure

Home remedies for high blood pressure include getting more exercise, improving your diet, and stopping smoking.

How to Prevent High Blood Pressure

The best ways to prevent high blood pressure are to:

  • Eat a healthy diet, including limiting sodium (salt) and alcohol
  • Exercise for at least 150 minutes each week
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Effectively manage your stress
  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get High Blood Pressure Treatment Online

Don’t let your blood pressure medication prescription lapse just because you want to avoid going to your doctor’s office. 

With PlushCare, you can schedule a video or phone appointment with one of our trusted doctors. During your appointment, your doctor will ask about your blood pressure, medical history, and current prescriptions. If your doctor thinks hypertension medication is right for you, they can electronically send a prescription to your local pharmacy.

Take control of your health and schedule an online appointment today!


Read More About High Blood Pressure


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Accessed on February 22, 2021 at https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm

American Heart Association. High Blood Pressure. Accessed on February 22, 2021 at https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure

Mayo Clinic. High Blood Pressure (Hypertension). Accessed on February 22, 2021 at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410

National Institutes of Health. Nature reviews. Disease primers. Hypertension. Accessed on February 22, 2021 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6477925/

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

Our commitment to you.

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

  • right Tick Image

    Research from sources you can trust

  • right Tick Image

    Medical reviews by field experts

  • right Tick Image

    Frequent content updates

More to learn.

Can You Get a Diuril Prescription Online?

Can You Get a Diuril Prescription Online?

Can You Get a Diuril Prescription Online? Have you been on Diuril in the past, but you’ve run out of…

Jennifer Nelson 5 minutes
Can You Get a Cozaar Prescription Online?

Can You Get a Cozaar Prescription Online?

You may have heard about Cozaar if you have high blood pressure or certain other medical conditions. You may have…

Jennifer Nelson 5 minutes
High Blood Pressure Symptoms in Women Vs Men

High Blood Pressure Symptoms in Women Vs Men

What is Hypertension? Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a condition where the pressure your blood puts on your artery…

Shannon Chapman 9 minutes