High blood pressure can seem inconsequential because it rarely produces any symptoms. The condition means the force of blood pushing against your artery walls is consistently too high. While this doesn’t produce any outward signs in the beginning, a consistently high reading can eventually cause the body to malfunction in ways that may prove deadly.
Dangerously high blood pressure is medically referred to as a hypertensive crisis.
According to a review on this very subject, a hypertensive crisis is a “case of massive, acute increase in blood pressure which directly endangers the patient’s life, represented by symptoms of hypertension which developed suddenly”.
According to a report, a hypertensive crisis is defined as levels of systolic blood pressure at 180 mmHg or above and diastolic blood pressure exceeding 120 mmHg.
What do these figures mean?
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is given as two figures:
Systolic pressure – the pressure when your heart pushes blood outDiastolic pressure – the pressure when your heart rests between beats.
All subjects were divided into two groups: a control group, which consisted of subjects without hypertensive crisis (95 subjects) and an experimental group that consisted of subjects with hypertensive crisis (85 subjects).
Chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting were significantly over-represented in subjects with hypertensive crisis.
How to respond to a hypertensive crisis
According to Mayo Clinic, if you experience a severe increase in your blood pressure, seek immediate medical attention.
“Treatment for hypertensive crisis may include hospitalisation for treatment with oral or intravenous medications,” says the health body.
In the long-term, lifestyle changes will be recommended to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range.
“Some of these will lower your blood pressure in a matter of weeks, while others may take longer,” according to the NHS.
Reducing your salt intake is a top priority because salt raises your blood pressure.
According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), adults should eat less than six grams of salt each day – that’s about one teaspoon.
“This includes the salt that’s contained within ready-made foods like bread, as well as the salt you add during cooking and at the table,” says the BHF.
You should also:
Eat a low-fat, balanced diet – including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetablesBe activeCut down on alcoholLose weightDrink less caffeine – found in coffee, tea and colaStop smoking.
“You can take these steps today, regardless of whether or not you’re taking blood pressure medicines,” says the NHS.
In fact, as the health body points out, by making these changes early on you may be able to avoid needing medicines.