Understanding the Circulatory System
Blood is the thing that circulates through your body in order to transport oxygen and nutrients to your cells. It also helps to take away waste products, like carbon dioxide. The heart is what pumps that blood from your chest to your toes and everywhere in between. This process is known as the circulatory system.
Arteries and veins are the two types of channels that exist in the circulatory system. Arteries take nutrient and oxygen-rich blood from the heart to where it is needed in the body, and veins take the blood back to the heart to get oxygenated once again. When this blood flows through your blood vessels, it creates something called blood pressure. This happens because as blood cells flow, they push on artery walls with a certain amount of force. This force rises and falls throughout the day due to various lifestyle events, and is regularly measured every time you visit your doctor.
Possible Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
1. Blood spots in the eyes
When a blood vessel bursts in your eye and shows spots of blood, that’s something called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. It’s a fancy name for a usually harmless and very common issue that can be caused by something as simple as a strong sneeze. However, it can actually be caused by high blood pressure in rare cases, oftentimes in people who also have diabetes. They’re usually harmless and disappear in a few days, but if you’re concerned, you can always ask a doctor.
2. Flushing of the face
Emotional stress, cold weather, and sun exposure are all common causes of facial flushing, which is when blood vessels in your face dilate. It’s the thing that happens when your face gets red, but it’s rarely ever a medical concern. Facial flushing occurs when your blood pressure is higher than usual, but it isn’t actually a direct cause of high blood pressure.
3. Irregular heartbeat
Heart arrhythmias are problems with the rhythm of the heart. These occur whenever the electrical impulses that control your heartbeat don’t work correctly. High blood pressure is known to be able to cause heart arrhythmias, which result in either a slow, fast, or irregular heartbeat.
4. Severe anxiety
Anxiety is tricky to recognize in its relation to hypertension because it’s not actually a medically induced symptom. It often occurs as a result of other symptoms because of some related fear to possible health problems. Severe anxiety also causes a temporary spike in blood pressure, so if it happens every day as a result of other symptoms, it could cause damage to your blood vessels.
5. Severe headaches
In the event of a hypertensive crisis, which is when your blood pressure quickly exceeds 180/120, there is a chance that it will be accompanied by severe headaches. This isn’t always the case, but if you think you’re experiencing a hypertensive crisis, the best thing to do is seek emergency medical attention or it could result in severe consequences like heart attack or stroke.
While dizziness could be a side effect of any blood pressure medication you may be taking, it could also be a symptom of something more severe. High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke, and dizziness is also a symptom of a stroke. If the onset is sudden, it isn’t something that should be ignored, but keep in mind that its cause could be something completely different. Don’t jump to conclusions, but make sure you have the necessary information about your body and your symptoms to make educated decisions.
7. Difficulty breathing
Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure related to the lungs. It can be caused by many pre-existing conditions in addition to high blood pressure. Difficulty breathing is one of the most common symptoms of this condition because it can occur if the heart has too much difficulty pumping blood to the lungs.
Fatigue is arguably one of the most common symptoms in the entire medical field. Caused by a variety of things, fatigue describes the reduced capacity for work and feelings of weariness. High blood pressure is one possible cause of this problem, likely because hypertension is when the heart has to work extra hard to pump blood through tightened blood vessels.
9. Pounding in the head or chest
Similar to when you consume too much caffeine or undergo an anxiety attack, high blood pressure can sometimes cause a pounding sensation in the head or chest. This can indicate the heart is working too hard to pump blood, so much to the point where you can feel it.
Nosebleeds are another rare side effect that can occur during a hypertensive crisis. It’s not always a direct cause of high blood pressure, but it does become more common in individuals with long-standing hypertension or during a crisis situation.