High blood pressure means that your blood is pressing against your blood vessels harder than it should. Over time, this can damage the vessel walls and allow plaque buildup to form which blocks the arteries and deprives the body of the blood and oxygen it needs.
So, how do you know if you have high blood pressure? Chances are, you won’t have a clue. While having a high BP can lead to serious or fatal outcomes such as heart attacks and stroke, it usually doesn’t present with symptoms which makes people refer to it as “the silent killer.”
Undetected high blood pressure is even riskier for women because many people think of it as a “man’s problem.” Women are just as likely to have high BP as men, but they’re much less likely to be diagnosed with it and less likely to be rightly treated for it.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, here are a number of things you can look out for to help you understand your own risk of high blood pressure and when you need to seek treatment.
You Have Reading Above 130/80
Just because you don’t look or check your blood pressure reading doesn’t mean its not there. It is a routine medical test which you can carry out yourself.
You can purchase a portable blood pressure monitor for less than 8,000 Naira and it is almost as accurate as the one you will get from a doctor’s office.
Furthermore, your BP changes constantly to adjust to your activity level, hydration, sleep, food intake and other factors. As such, to get an accurate picture of things, you will need to get several readings over time.
Choose a time when you’re calm and well-hydrated, take your BP, and then repeat the test weekly or monthly under the same conditions. Write down the dates and your numbers for monitoring purposes.
If you have more three readings in a row that is over 130/80, you need to see a doctor. Normal is less than 120/80 mm Hg, elevated is 120-129/80, stage 1 hypertension is 130-139/80-89, stage 2 hypertension is at least 140/90, and a hypertensive crisis anything over 180/120.
You Have A Family History Of High Blood Pressure
While exercise and healthy eating ate quite important in lowering blood pressure, genetics also play a major role.
Your heart health and high blood pressure can be hereditary, as such, ask family members about their history of high blood pressure or heart disease.
You should be most concerned about your parents, grandparents, and siblings—especially if any of them had a heart attack younger than 45 years old.
Your Vision Is Suddenly Worse
High blood pressure can affect the blood vessels in your eyes, causing them to swell. This can sometimes be identified during a routine eye exam, although this too is a later symptom of high blood pressure.
If you experience blurry vision or a sudden change in vision, make an appointment to see your doctor right away.
You Feel Dizzy And Have Trouble Keeping Balance
Feeling dizzy suddenly and losing your balance can be an early warning sign of a stroke caused by high blood pressure.
If the dizziness is linked to something obvious, such as standing up too fast or watching a 3D movie, or if it passes quickly, it’s probably nothing to worry about. If it however keeps happening, you shouldn’t ignore this symptom.
See a doctor as soon as possible.
You Have Brain Fog Or Repeated Headaches
People with high blood pressure may experience mild, chronic headaches and/or brain fog. These symptoms however do not manifest in a manner where you will notice them until your blood pressure is really high.
If you ever get a crushing headache that just won’t go, and it is accompanied with or without a nosebleed, you may be having a “hypertensive crisis” and you need to get to a hospital immediately.
You’re Bloated And Can’t Seem To Pass Anything Out
High blood pressure is often closely linked with diabetes and kidney disease, and women especially may experience bloating and decreased urination as a side effect. As a matter of fact, a lot of people get to discover they have high BP because their kidneys and potty habits go awry.
As such, pay attention to what urinary habits are normal for you, and make a note if that changes.