Symptoms of Hypertensive Emergency
Hypertensive emergency occurs when there is organ damage, which is the result of extremely high blood pressure. If hypertensive emergency does occur, the blood pressure must immediately be brought down so that extensive damage to the organs does not occur.
Generally, the lowering of blood pressure is done in a hospital when hypertensive emergency happens. Hypertensive emergency does not happen often but when it does, the danger is life threatening. Some of the symptoms of hypertensive emergency are seizures, shortness of breath, headaches, nausea, blurred vision, vomiting, being unresponsive, and fluid buildup in the body tissue. If there is the chance of hypertensive emergency the person should not consume any type of food or drink and they should lie down until they can go to the hospital or an ambulance arrives. Hypertensive emergency will damage the organs in the body. Some of the organ damage as a result of hypertensive emergency is confusion or coma, a stroke, heart failure, chest pain, fluid in the lungs, heart attack, aneurysm, and eclampsia if the woman happens to be pregnant. The first and foremost treatment of hypertensive emergency is to get your blood pressure down as quickly as possible. This is done with intravenous (IV) medications that are specific for lowering blood pressure.
The reason it is so important to lower your blood pressure quickly is to prevent organ damage or further organ damage if damage has already occurred. There are various therapies specific to the damaged organ that is important to follow. When the symptoms of hypertensive emergency occur you need to go straight to the hospital to find out if it is hypertensive emergency. There is only one way to know for sure and that is by a doctor's diagnosis. The doctor will ask you about your medical history and then perform a physical exam. Your blood pressure will, most likely, be high. The blood pressure readings will be different than a regular reading, as it will be performed on both arms, while you are standing and again while you are lying down.
After the general reading a stethoscope exam will be taken as well as a neurological exam. An eye exam should also be performed which can show high blood pressure if your optic nerve is swollen or even bleeding inside of the eye. If these tests show the possibility of hypertensive emergency, more tests will be done to reach a more conclusive diagnosis because hypertensive emergency is very life threatening. Some of the tests that can be performed are blood tests to check creatinine levels which alerts the doctor to possible kidney damage, a X-ray of the chest, urine tests to check for high protein, an EKG, an ultrasound or echocardiogram of the heart, and a renal duplex or ultrasound test of the arteries of the kidneys to determine if there is blockage. If any symptoms of emergency hypertension are felt you should immediately see a physician. Gone untreated emergency hypertension can lead to major organ damage and even be life threatening.