Symptoms of Malignant Hypertension

What are the symptoms of malignant hypertension? How is it treated?

You may be somewhat familiar with the risk factors involved with high blood pressure and the treatments that are often prescribed. Unless you or someone you know is diagnosed with this dangerous condition called malignant hypertension, you may have never heard the term. 

Well, this is a relatively rare condition that occurs in only 1% of people with high blood pressure. It is also known by names like accelerated hypertension and arteriolar nephrosclerosis.

The blood pressure shoots up very high and is accompanied by a swelling of the optic nerve behind the eye known as the papilledema. If it is not treated right away, the risks of this condition can include: brain damage, kidney failure and even death.

That is why it is important to recognize the symptoms of this condition, particularly if you already have hypertension, so that you can seek necessary medical treatment immediately.

Symptoms of malignant hypertension

There are some signs when having a very severe blood pressure that include the following:

  • blurred vision

  • numbness of the face or extremities

  • chest pain

  • decreased urinary output    

  • headache

You might also experience a change to your mental state that might be characterized as confusion, restlessness, fatigue or chronic anxiety.

Other symptoms may be nausea, weakness, shortness of breath and seizures. If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if you have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should call 9-1-1 or get to a hospital emergency room immediately. 

The treatment will generally involve a hospital stay until the high blood pressure can be brought under control. This is often done through medication at first and then switched over to an oral medication as the imminent danger passes. When the condition is treated promptly using these procedures, there is rarely any long term damage to organs that will result.

However, when left untreated, it may cause:

- damage to the eyes

- brain

- kidneys

- heart

- blood vessels

This is why prompt response and treatment is so imperative to a malignant high blood pressure patient.

If you have high blood pressure, it is important to stick with the treatment that is prescribed by your doctor to ensure that this type of hypertension does not ever occur. Your doctor will probably have you on medication that will keep you on your average blood pressure. It is important to take that medication as directed and for the rest of your life to manage your condition. Proper lifestyle changes can keep the numbers at a healthy reading so that you don't have to worry about complications.

Read about compensatory hypertension


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