Severe Hypertension

What is Severe Hypertension?

Severe hypertension is defined as a systolic (top number) blood pressure reading greater than 180 mmHg or a diastolic (bottom number) greater than 120 mmHg. It is also referred to as malignant or accelerated hypertension. Severe hypertension is a medical emergency. It can cause a stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure.

Symptoms of Severe Hypertension

Typically, there are no obvious signs or symptoms of severe hypertension. As such, it is important to have your blood pressure monitored and monitored regularly. When symptoms do occur, they can include:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Nosebleeds
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain

Causes of Severe Hypertension

In most cases, the exact cause of severe hypertension is unknown. However, certain conditions can increase your chances of developing it including:

  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnea
  • Kidney disease
  • Certain medications

Treatment of Severe Hypertension

Severe hypertension requires immediate medical treatment. This includes lifestyle changes as well as medications. Lifestyle changes aim to reduce stress, lose weight, and increase physical activity. Medications used to treat severe hypertension can include:

  • Diuretics
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium channel blockers (CCBs)
  • Beta blockers

If lifestyle changes and medications do not work, your doctor may recommend angioplasty or surgery to help reduce your blood pressure.