Get answers to your heart disease prevention questions.
Hypertension - essential
Most of the time, there are no symptoms. In most people, high blood pressure is found when they visit their health care provider and have it measured.
Because there are no symptoms, people can develop heart disease and kidney problems without knowing they have high blood pressure.
If you have a severe headache, nausea or vomiting, confusion, changes in vision, or nosebleeds you may have a severe and dangerous form of high blood pressure called malignant hypertension.
Your health care provider will check your blood pressure several times. It is normal for your blood pressure to be different at different times of the day.
Blood pressure readings that you take at home may be a better measure of your current blood pressure than those taken at your doctor's office. Make sure you get a good quality, well-fitting home device. It will probably have a cuff with a stethoscope or a digital readout. Practice with your health care provider or nurse to make sure you are taking your blood pressure correctly.
See also: Blood pressure monitors for home
Your doctor will perform a physical exam to look for signs of heart disease, damage to the eyes, and other changes in your body.
Tests may be done to look for:
Goldstein LB, Bushnell CD, Adams RJ, Appel LJ, Braun LT, Chaturvedi S, et al. Guidelines for the primary prevention of stroke: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2011;42:517-584.
Kaplan NM. Systemic Hypertension: Treatment. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 46.
Victor RG. Systemic hypertension: Mechanisms and diagnosis. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 45.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885