High blood pressure (hypertension) is called the silent killer because an individual can have it for years without knowing it. Hypertension rarely causes symptoms at first but is a risk factor for many other conditions including kidney disease and coronary heart disease, which may lead to heart attack and/or stroke (lack of blood and oxygen to the tissues).
Although it rarely happens, hypertension occasionally causes symptoms such as vertigo (dizziness), tinnitus (ringing in the ears), dimmed vision, fatigue (tiredness), palpitations (irregular heart beat), impotence (inability of males to achieve or maintain erection), and fainting. Extremely elevated blood pressure can cause a headache upon awakening or, even more rarely, nosebleed, nausea, or vomiting.
Hypertensive emergency (malignant hypertension) can be life threatening and has recognizable symptoms that require immediate treatment. Symptoms include blurred vision, headache, confusion, anxiety, drowsiness, fatigue (tiredness), nausea, vomiting, chest pain (angina), shortness of breath, cough, decreased urinary output, and weakness or numbness in the arms, legs, face, or other areas.
If symptoms of malignant hypertension are noticed, call 911 emergency immediately.
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