Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
Symptoms » High blood pressure

High blood pressure

High blood pressure: Introduction

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a very common and serious condition that can lead to and/or complicate many health problems. These include coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and heart failure. About one in three adults in the U.S. have hypertension, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

There are three general types of hypertension. Essential hypertension occurs when the condition has no known cause. When hypertension is caused by another condition or disease process, it is called secondary hypertension. When only the systolic blood pressure number (the top number) is high, it is called isolated systolic hypertension, which is common in older adults.

Hypertension has a variety of causes. Blood pressure generally tends to rise with age. Hypertension can also be caused by other medical conditions, such as thyroid disease or chronic kidney disease. Hypertension may also be a side effect of certain medications, such as over-the-counter cold medications and oral contraceptives ("the Pill") and other hormone drugs. Obesity and heredity also play a role in the development of hypertension.

Hypertension is often called "the silent killer" because it generally has no symptoms until serious complications develop. When symptoms do occur, they can differ between individuals depending on such factors as the level of blood pressure, age, underlying cause, medical history, the presence of complications and general health. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of hypertension.

Blood pressure is defined as the pressure that is put on the walls of the arteries as blood is pumped through the circulatory system. Blood pressure is measured as a two numbers (i.e. 120/80nnHg) but it is not a fixed number. Normally, blood pressure rises and falls as a response to many situations. For example, blood pressure will rise during strenuous activity in order to ensure that all the cells of the body get additional amounts of oxygen-rich blood. Blood pressure may also rise in response to stressful situations, and it is normally lower during periods of relaxation or sleep. It is the cumulative effects of blood pressure that is stays too high that results in serious complications.

Making a diagnosis of hypertension includes performing a complete evaluation that includes a medical history and physical examination and a series of blood pressure readings.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers, (i.e.120/80mmHg). The "top" number is called the systolic number, which is a measurement of the pressure on the artery walls when the heart beats. The "bottom" number is the diastolic number, which is a measurement of the pressure on the artery walls when the heart is resting between beats.

Many people think of a reading of 120/80mmHg as "normal". In fact there are many variations of normal that are dependent on a variety of factors. Unless a blood pressure reading is very high and needs to be addressed immediately, blood pressure readings will be monitored over period of time to assess for trends and to get an idea of an individual's overall blood pressure.

As a very general guide, adults should keep their blood pressure below 140/90mmHg. In addition, current guidelines consider consistent readings over 120/80mmHg as a condition called pre-hypertension, which should be monitored and addressed to ensure that blood pressure does not rise higher over time.

It is very possible that a diagnosis of hypertension can be missed or delayed because there are generally no symptoms in the early stages. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of hypertension.

Patient compliance with a good treatment plan generally results in a normalization of blood pressure and also minimizes complications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of hypertension....more »

High blood pressure: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of hypertension begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam that includes blood pressure monitoring. A diagnosis of hypertension may be overlooked or delayed because in its early stages there generally are no symptoms until complications arise.

When there are symptoms, such as ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of High blood pressure:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of High blood pressure. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of High blood pressure: Causes | Symptom Checker » | Assessment Questionnaire »

Home Diagnostic Testing and High blood pressure

Home medical tests possibly related to High blood pressure:

Causes of Types of High blood pressure:

Review the causes of these more specific types of High blood pressure:

Review causes of types of High blood pressure in more specific categories:

Review causes of more specific types of High blood pressure:

High blood pressure: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with High blood pressure, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

Symptom Checker

High blood pressure Treatments

The most effective treatment plan for hypertension uses a multifaceted approach. Treatment plans are also individualized to best address the specific cause and the patient's age, medical history, and severity of hypertension. Hypertension is highly treatable and in most people, prompt and ongoing treatment will result in a normalization of blood pressure ...High blood pressure Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of High blood pressure may include:

Review further information on High blood pressure Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for High blood pressure

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for High blood pressure may include:

Stories from Users for High blood pressure

Real-life user stories relating to High blood pressure:

Message Boards for High blood pressure

Symptom specific forums: The following patient stories in our interactive forums and message boards relate to High blood pressure or relevant symptoms:

Diagnostic tests for High blood pressure:

Various tests are used in the diagnosis of High blood pressure. Some of these are listed below :

  • Blood pressure
    • Sitting and standing in both arms
    • If initial reading is high ( diastolic over 90mmHg and/or systolic over 140mmHg) repeat the measurement after 5 minutes of rest
    • If only systolic reading is high may suggest hyperthyroidism, aortic insufficiency and arteriosclerotic aortitis
    • If high blood pressure is paroxysmal may suggest phaeochromocytoma
  • more tests...»

High blood pressure: Animations

Medications or substances causing High blood pressure:

The following drugs, medications, substances or toxins are some of the possible causes of High blood pressure as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

Drug interactions causing High blood pressure:

When combined, certain drugs, medications, substances or toxins may react causing High blood pressure as a symptom. Always advise your doctor of any medications or treatments you are using, including prescription, over-the-counter, supplements, herbal or alternative treatments.

  • Buspirone and monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressant interaction
  • BuSpar and monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressant interaction
  • BuSpar Dividose and monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressant interaction
  • Bumex and chloral hydrate interaction
  • Edecrin and chloral hydrate interaction
  • Lasix and chloral hydrate interaction
  • Demadex and chloral hydrate interaction
  • more interactions...»

High blood pressure: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for High blood pressure may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to High blood pressure

Research the causes of these symptoms that are similar to, or related to, the symptom High blood pressure:

Assessment Questionnaire: Questions your doctor may ask (and why!)

During a consultation, your doctor will use various techniques to assess the symptom: High blood pressure. These will include a physical examination and possibly diagnostic tests. (Note: A physical exam is always done, diagnostic tests may or may not be performed depending on the suspected condition) Your doctor will ask several questions when assessing your condition. It is important to openly share any pertinent information to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

It is also very important to bring an up-to-date list of all of your all medical conditions, medications including dosages, and names of numbers of any specialist you see.

Create your printable checklist here.

See High blood pressure Assessment Questionnaire (11 listings)

High blood pressure: Deaths

Read more about causes and High blood pressure deaths.

Misdiagnosis and High blood pressure

Metabolic syndrome often undiagnosed: Metabolic syndrome, also known as Syndrome X, is an often overlooked medical condition that causes more »

Heart attacks can be undiagnosed: Although the most severe symptoms of heart attack are hard to miss, there are varying degrees of severity. It is altogether too common for people to die from undiagnosed heart attack, or from delaying too long to call more »

Heart attacks can be overdiagnosed: Although many people die from heart attacks, there are also many cases where people fear that they have a heart attack, but actually more »

Unnecessary hysterectomies due to undiagnosed bleeding disorder in women: The bleeding disorder called Von Willebrand's disease is quite common in women, but often fails to be correctly diagnosed. Women with the condition tend to have heavy periods, since more »

Rare heart condition often undiagnosed: The rare heart condition called long QT syndrome can lead to episodes of palpitations and rapid heartbeat. In rare cases, this undiagnosed condition can be fatal. It should be considered for any more »

Heart attack can be over-diagnosed: Although heart attack is often undiagnosed, leading to fatality, it can also be over-diagnosed. People become concerned that a condition is a heart attack, whereas there are various less more »

Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease is often over-diagnosed. Patients tend to assume that any memory loss more »

Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for a patient to show mental decline to dementia. Whereas this can, of course, occur due to various medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease, more »

Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. The reality is that there are various possibilities, such as more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm to measure blood pressure more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years, more »

Over-diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension in obese patients: A diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, particularly pulmonary arterial hypertension, is often a misdiagnosis in obese patients. Exertional dyspnea leads to a diagnostic reading of more »

Obesity-related conditions undiagnosed in children: A variety of conditions are associated with obesity (see obesity), but these tend to be undiagnosed more often in child patients than in adults. Some of the overlooked conditions more »

Hypertension misdiagnosis common in children: Hypertension is often misdiagnosed in adults (see misdiagnosis of hypertension), but its misdiagnosis is even more likely in children. Some more »

High blood pressure: Research Related Doctors & Specialists

Other ways to find a doctor, or use doctor, physician and specialist online research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: High blood pressure

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to High blood pressure:

High blood pressure: Related Rare Diseases

Rare types of medical conditions and diseases in related medical categories:

High blood pressure: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Article Excerpts about High blood pressure

Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Blood pressure that remains high over time is called hypertension. Extra fluid in your body increases the amount of fluid in your blood vessels and makes your blood pressure higher. Narrow or clogged blood vessels also raise blood pressure. (Source: excerpt from High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease: NIDDK)

Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Blood... (Source: excerpt from High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease: NIDDK)

Organs affected by High blood pressure:

The list of organs typically affected by High blood pressure may include, but is not limited to:

Detailed list of causes of High blood pressure

The list below shows some of the causes of High blood pressure mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of High blood pressure?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of High blood pressure. Of the 398 causes of High blood pressure that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 8 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 9 causes are "common" diseases
  • 6 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 5 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 16 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 374 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: High blood pressure:

The following list of conditions have 'High blood pressure' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of High blood pressure or choose View All.

View All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W #























Conditions listing medical complications: High blood pressure:

The following list of medical conditions have High blood pressure or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.



















Join in at the forums

Ask or answer a question about symptoms or diseases at one of our free interactive user forums.

Medical story forums: If you have a medical story then we want to hear it.

See a list of all the medical forums

Causes of High blood pressure Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of High blood pressure based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?
  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    Doctors and specialists: Who should I consult about High blood pressure?

    Depending on the seriousness of the onset of High blood pressure, you may want to consult one of the following medical professionals.

    Important:In extreme cases, always seek advice from emergency services :

    Classifications of High blood pressure:

    Subtypes of High blood pressure:

    Pulmonary hypertension (86 causes), Elevated blood pressure (31 causes), Arterial hypertension (34 causes)

    Medical Conditions associated with High blood pressure:

    Blood pressure symptoms (716 causes), Cardiovascular symptoms (3192 causes), Circulatory system symptoms (1579 causes), Heart symptoms (2927 causes), Blood vessel symptoms (480 causes)

    Symptoms related to High blood pressure:

    Hypertension (398 causes), Obesity (236 causes), Metabolic syndrome (50 causes), Rein angiotensin system, Malignant hypertension (5 causes), Systolic blood pressure, Diastolic blood pressure, Stroke (192 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Medical News summaries about High blood pressure

    Our news pages contain the following medical news summaries about High blood pressure and many other medical conditions:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for High blood pressure

    Medical research papers related to High blood pressure include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Hypertension:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


    By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

    Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise