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When Should You Go To The Hospital For Blood Pressure

What To Do If You Suspect A Hypertensive Crisis

How High Is Too High For Blood Pressure? Cardiologist Explains

If you suspect that you or someone else is experiencing a hypertensive crisis, these are the steps that should be taken:

  • Check your blood pressure.
  • If your blood pressure is elevated to 180/120 or higher and you ARE NOT experiencing any severe symptoms, wait 5 minutes and take it again. Try to relax because anxiety can cause falsely elevated blood pressure readings.
  • If the repeat BP measurement is the same or higher then you should seek medical attention. Call your Primary Care Provider first for instructions on medication adjustment and/or follow-up. If you cannot reach them, go to the Emergency Room.
  • If your blood pressure is elevated to 180/120 or higher and you ARE experiencing warning symptoms then do not wait to recheck your blood pressure and instead you should go immediately to the Emergency Room for evaluation.
  • Common Causes Of Extremely High Blood Pressure

    Lifestyle choices

    Being overweight, consuming a high-fat diet, smoking excessively and drinking alcohol, and specific medication can also raise the risk of hypertension.


    One major cause of hypertension is genetic predisposition. The probability of developing hypertension is higher in adults with a family history of high blood pressure or diabetes, for those with kidney disease, lupus, hyper or hypothyroidism, and obstructive sleep apnea.

    Special situations

    High blood pressure may occur in pregnancy. There are special considerations for children with high blood pressure.

    Signs And Symptoms Of A Hypertensive Crisis

    A higher blood pressure reading as described above may be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms. If you develop any of the signs above it would be a good idea to check your blood pressure to make sure its not in a hypertensive crisis .

  • Severe Headache
  • Severe Anxiety
  • Hypertensive Urgency

    A hypertensive urgency is a part of hypertensive crisis where your blood pressure numbers are high, over 180/120, but its a situation where you have to call a doctor and NOT go to the hospital. And believe me, even though the blood pressure numbers in this range are scary, its a huge relief that youre only calling a doctor instead of rushing to the hospital.

    A hypertensive urgency is when your blood pressure numbers, as described above, fall into the hypertensive category but you are not experiencing any of the symptoms discussed earlier: chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision or difficulty breathing.

    In this situation you will contact your doctor immediately and be guided by what they advise you. Normally, your healthcare provider may have you adjust or add medications but rarely requires hospitalization.

    Read Also: High Blood Pressure Symptoms Mayo Clinic

    The Consequences Of Blood Pressure High Enough To Go To The Hospital

    I want you to place more importance of making that call to go to the hospital over not making it. To tell you how important making that call is, I want to inform you about the medical issues that you may experience from uncontrolled blood pressure thats over 180 or 120 .

    • Stroke: A sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain.
    • Loss of Consciousness.
    • Heart Attack: When the blood flow to part of the heart is blocked.
    • Damage To The Eyes & Kidneys.
    • Loss Of Kidney Function.
    • Aortic Dissection: This is when there is a tear in the wall of your major artery, aorta, carrying blood out of the heart. This can lead to aortic rupture or decreased blood flow to your organs.
    • Angina: Its a severe pain in the chest that is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. The pain can also spread to the shoulders, arms and neck.
    • Pulmonary Edema: It is fluid accumulation in the tissue and air spaces of the lungs. it can lead to fatal respiratory distress or cardiac arrest.
    • Eclampsia: A condition that causes a pregnant woman to develop seizures or a coma.

    As you can see these medical problems that can result from having blood pressure high enough to go to the hospital are very serious. Some of them can lead to a fatal ending so please take them seriously and also share this article on your social media or with a friend who might be experiencing high blood pressure.

    What Kind Of Organ Damage Might Occur From A Hypertensive Crisis

    Blood pressure measurement

    The heart can be damaged, the kidneys may fail, the aorta may be compromised, the eyes could be damaged, there could be fluid in the lungs and even memory loss, says Dr. Meier. Thats why its so important to get fast medical intervention to try to minimize the damage of the hypertensive crisis.

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    Facts About High Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure affects your health at every level

    There’s a good reason why every doctor’s appointment starts with a blood pressure check. While one in three American adults has high blood pressure, about 20% of people are unaware that they have it because it is largely symptomless.

    In fact, most people find out they have high blood pressure during a routine office visit.

    Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is when that force is too high and begins harming the body. If left untreated, it willl eventually cause damage to the heart and blood vessels.

    Your blood pressure is measured in two numbers: The top systolic blood pressure measures the force pushing against artery walls when the heart is contracting. The bottom diastolic blood pressure measures pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats.

    Normal blood pressure levels are 120 mmHg/80 mmHg or lower. At risk levels are 120-139 mmHg/80-89 mmHg. Readings of 140 mmHg/90 mmHg or higher are defined as high blood pressure.

    Here are six other things you should know about high blood pressure.

    Enlarged Heart And Cardiovascular Health

    Question: I am 23 years old and in pretty good health. I have three children, and towards the end of each pregnancy, I have developed high blood pressure. Last week I went to a family doctor for a physical, and my blood pressure was 118/100. The doctor performed an electrocardiogram , and the results were abnormal she said that the left side of my heart is enlarged. She referred me to a cardiologist, and I have an appointment next week. I am very concerned. Does this mean that I will die young? Can I live a long life with an enlarged heart? I would appreciate your advice.

    Answer: I agree with your doctor that aggressive management of your blood pressure is warranted. Your history of high blood pressure associated with pregnancy is not uncommon, and can be a harbinger of sustained hypertension such as what you seem to have developed. Although your top number, or systolic pressure, is not alarming, the bottom number, or diastolic pressure, is distinctly abnormal at 100 mm Hg. The criteria for assessing the enlargement of the left-sided heart in people your age are not definitive, and can depend on ethnicity and degree of physical training. Often, a trained observer can detect enlargement of the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart, on physical examination.

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    What Happens If I Go To The Er For Covid

    When you go to the ER, one of the most important parts of your evaluation will be checking your vital signs, which include:

    • Your oxygen level

    • Your breathing rate

    • Your heart rate

    • Your blood pressure

    Depending on your vital signs and physical exam, your provider may also run some additional tests to see how the virus is affecting your body. These may include:

    • An X-ray of your lungs to look for signs of pneumonia or fluid

    • A CT scan of your chest to look at the lungs in greater detail, or to check for blood clots

    • An EKG of your heart to look for signs of stress or strain on the heart

    • Blood tests to check your blood counts, kidney function, and electrolytes

    After these tests, you and your provider will discuss whether you are safe to continue recovering at home, or you should stay in the hospital for closer monitoring.

    My Child Has High Blood Pressure Should We Go To The Er

    Are You Nervous About A Non-COVID Emergency Room Visit?

    While children have different healthy blood pressure readings than adults due to their smaller size and weight, the blood pressure reading of 180/120 that indicates a hypertensive crisis in adults also indicates a hypertensive crisis in children. If your child is experiencing these blood pressure levels, they need immediate medical care.

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    Seeking Emergency Medical Attention

    If a person experiences low blood pressure along with concerning symptoms such as a loss of consciousness, mental confusion, and a weak, rapid pulse and breathing pattern they should seek immediate medical attention.

    In the emergency room, doctors may ask questions about a persons medical history, medications they may be taking, or any infections or accidents they may have had.

    They may ask about or check for symptoms. They may also administer tests to check heart rate and blood pressure, and imaging tests to check the internal body and organs for other issues.

    Even if a person is experiencing mild rather than severe symptoms along with low blood pressure, they should still seek guidance from a doctor.

    Doctors may want to monitor the symptoms and test the blood pressure themselves to make any necessary diagnosis and administer treatment.

    Aside from these events, a person may have low blood pressure and be in otherwise good health.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Severe Covid

    It can be hard to know when your symptoms are a sign of more severe COVID-19 complications. The infection can make some people feel really sick, even when they’re OK and not in any real danger. And other times, someone may have mild symptoms and not realize their oxygen level is dangerously low.

    In fact, low oxygen level is one of the biggest problems with COVID-19. And when this happens, you need medical attention . Your oxygen level might be low if you:

    • Feel like you are working really hard to breathe

    • Experience severe chest pain or tightness

    • Have a bluish or dusky discoloration of your skin, lips, or nail beds

    • Seem confused or disoriented

    • Are having difficulty staying awake

    But COVID-19 can sometimes worsen without the person having a significant change in their symptoms. This can especially be true for older individuals, or those who are used to feeling short of breath, such as people with asthma or COPD. So people with risk factors for severe disease may need to be a little more vigilant.

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    Can A Freestanding Er Handle My Hypertensive Crisis

    Most definitely. At Advance ER, you will find much of the same equipment as in a hospital-based ER, including what is needed to treat a hypertensive crisis, heart attack or stroke.Without the long wait times, you will be comfortable, diagnosed and treated in record time. Our unique Specialists NOW program also makes a cardiologist available* for additional consultation assistance, as needed, he says. Were open 24/7 every day of the year, and youll get a board-certified physician with many years of experience, so dont hesitate to come in if you are concerned about your blood pressure reading or if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

    How To Know If High Blood Pressure Is An Emergency


    HealthMatch staff

    If you live with high blood pressure, it can be difficult to know when it becomes an emergency as the symptoms and signs are not always obvious. However, if left unchecked, it can gradually damage your blood vessels, heart, kidney, and other vital body organs. Sudden changes in blood pressure can also cause harm.

    Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as the heart pumps blood. It is measured by using a blood pressure cuff which is placed around your arm, gradually tightens, and then releases. The results are given in two numbers. A blood pressure reading is given as the systolic blood pressure number over the diastolic blood pressure number . Blood pressure levels are classified based on those two numbers.

    In this piece, we share insights into managing high blood pressure, how to know when high blood pressure is an emergency and what to do in case of a high blood pressure emergency.

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    High Blood Pressure And Daily Activity

    Check with your doctor before starting a new activity or increasing your level or intensity. Be active safely. Build up your levels of activity gradually.

    Try to do at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This can be done in bouts of 10 minutes or longer, if that is more convenient.

    Physical activity is any form of bodily movement performed by our large muscle groups. Moderate-intensity physical activity , such as brisk walking or cycling, is enough to provide health benefits.

    Walking is a great activity for all ages. You may like to join one of the Heart Foundations community walking groups.

    Some types of exercises, such as body presses and lifting heavy weights, can raise your blood pressure. Avoid these if you have high blood pressure.

    You Shouldn’t Ignore White Coat Hypertension

    Some people experience white coat hypertension, when blood pressure is elevated in the doctor’s office but not in other settings. These patients need to monitor their blood pressure at home or wear an ambulatory blood pressure monitor that takes your blood pressure every 30 minutes for 24 hours.

    While white coat hypertension was formerly considered simple nervousness, recent research suggests otherwise.

    A study published in the journal Hypertension found that people with white coat hypertension are at a significantly greater risk for developing sustained high blood pressure than people who have normal blood pressure. One possible explanation is that people with white coat hypertension have a harder time managing stress and anxiety.

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    What Can You Do If You Suspect You Are Experiencing A Hypertensive Crisis

    Follow these steps if you suspect you or someone close to you is experiencing a hypertensive crisis:

  • Check your blood pressure.

  • If the blood pressure is not over 180/120mm Hg and you’re not showing any signs of severe high blood pressure, wait for five minutes and recheck your blood pressure. This time ensure you are fully relaxed and not hasty to avoid false elevated blood pressure readings.

  • If the blood pressure remains unchanged or higher than the first reading, you need to seek medical attention immediately. Call your doctor immediately for advice, as you prepare to go to the emergency room. If you cannot call your doctor, ask your family member or friend to contact them.

  • When your blood pressure is more than 180/120mm Hg, you are experiencing symptoms of hypertensive emergency such as upper back pain, severe headache, numbness or weakness, shortness of breath, difficulty in speaking, and loss of vision is an emergency. Immediately call your healthcare provider as you head to the emergency room for evaluation.

  • Treating Hypertensive Emergencies In Children

    Blood Pressure: How High is Too High and How Do I Lower it Safely?

    A child with a hypertensive emergency requires intensive care and the emergency department will handle the case for closer blood pressure monitoring and evaluation. Whats more, the child will receive intravenous antihypertensive drugs such as labetalol and nicardipine to stabilize their blood pressure.

    The goal of these medications is to lower blood pressure and avoid life-threatening complications, including organ damage. A medical specialist with experience managing severe blood pressure in children should handle the case if possible. Once blood pressure stabilizes, the doctor can administer the drugs orally. If the condition doesn’t cause organ damage, the child will only need hypertensive medication administered by mouth.

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    When Low Blood Pressure Is An Emergency

    If you frequently experience symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness or fainting spells, you should consult a doctor. While low blood pressure, itself, usually isn’t fatal, there are serious medical situations where it is considered an emergency, and you should go to the hospital.

    “The likelihood of dying from low blood pressure is low unless it is related to another disease process,” Weinberg says.

    For example, a blood infection, or , can result in low blood pressure. Sepsis occurs when the chemicals released by the body to fight an infection trigger widespread inflammation, resulting in blood clotting that reduces blood flow to vital organs, such as your heart, kidneys, and brain. This can progress to septic shock and very low blood pressure, which may be fatal, and should be treated immediately.

    Low blood pressure can also be affiliated with Addison’s disease a disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol, a hormone that helps your body respond to stress. Lack of cortisol production can cause addisonian crisis, which is characterized by low blood pressure and can be fatal without proper treatment.

    The treatment for low blood pressure varies depending on the cause. In severe cases, someone might need intravenous therapy to deliver fluids into the veins and raise blood pressure. In critical situations, such as septic shock, doctors may use drug therapies either orally or through an IV to quickly raise blood pressure.

    What Are Treatment Options For High Blood Pressure

    Treating high blood pressure may include a combined approach of dietary changes, medication and exercise. The goal is to lower your blood pressure and thus lower your risk of developing health problems caused by high blood pressure.


    If your blood pressure is between 120/80 mm Hg and 130/80 mm Hg, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes like losing weight or quitting smoking to help bring blood pressure down to a normal range. Medication is rarely used at this stage.

    Stage I hypertension

    If your blood pressure is above 130/80 mmHg but below 140/90 mmHg, your doctor may prescribe a blood pressure medication in addition to recommending lifestyle changes.

    Stage II hypertension

    If your blood pressure is above 140/90 mmHg, your doctor may start you on more rigorous medications and recommend stricter lifestyle changes. Medications may include:

    Possible side effects

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