Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Posted by Dr. Robert Kelly


High blood pressure volcano
Image credit: Mark Ireland | Flickr


High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease, strokes, heart failure and atrial fibrillation. Ignoring it could be the same as ignoring a volcano.

So how do you know if you have High Blood Pressure?

A blood pressure monitor will tell you if your bp readings are >140:90.

Sometimes readings are abnormal because an individual is anxious or worried, for example when seeing the doctor; this is called white coat hypertension and does not usually require treatment, but it can contribute to real hypertension over time.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Symptoms for high blood pressure are variable, from fatigue, headaches, blurred vision to chest pains, shortness of breath, palpitations and leg swelling.

High blood pressure is more common in people who are overweight; have kidney problems; sleep apnea, and in rarer circumstances where some people produce abnormal levels of adrenaline (phaeochromocytoma).


In most cases (over 95%) the cause of high blood pressure is unknown. It may be that high blood pressure runs in family.

Treating high blood pressure

Treating high blood pressure is about modifying diet ( especially salt, sugar and alcohol intake, which should all be restricted). Exercise, weight management are also very important. Tablets are indicated when above measures alone do not work; tablets are also considered early on in patients who have evidence of heart disease ( heart wall thickening / hyper trophy on ultrasound or ECG) or heart attacks, strokes.

A GP or Cardiologist can advise what tablets to take. Usually tablets will be required for life.

High blood pressure monitorThe author runs an integrated BP management service for patients, where patients keep a record of their BP and share their data, their activity, diet with cardiology. This close monitoring allows cardiology & patient to monitor response to lifestyle adjustments and may enable patient to withdraw need for taking tablets. Online patient services such as Fruit street and Twine offer similar integrated patient portals for lifestyle and wellness management among blood pressure and other heart disease patients.