High blood pressure: The symptoms in the eyes and face which may be indirectly related

Dr Chris Steele shares diet tips on reducing blood pressure

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The NHS says: “High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.” The American Heart Association (AHA) says a variety of symptoms may be “indirectly related to” but are not always caused by high blood pressure.

These include blood spots in the eyes, which “are more common in people with diabetes or high blood pressure”, but neither condition causes the blood spots.

It adds: “Floaters in the eyes are also not related to high blood pressure. However, an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) may be able to detect damage to the optic nerve caused by untreated high blood pressure.”

The AHA says facial flushing occurs when blood vessels in the face dilate. It states that while facial flushing may occur while your blood pressure is higher than usual, high blood pressure is not the cause of facial flushing.

The organisation also says that while dizziness can be a side effect of some blood pressure medications, it is not caused by high blood pressure.

“However, dizziness should not be ignored, especially if the onset is sudden. Sudden dizziness, loss of balance or coordination and trouble walking are all warning signs of a stroke. High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for stroke,” it notes.

The AHA also says high blood pressure is a largely symptomless “silent killer”.

It warns: “If you ignore your blood pressure because you think a certain symptom or sign will alert you to the problem, you are taking a dangerous chance with your life.”

The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked, says the NHS.

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The health body says around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it.

It says making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.

If you are over the age of 40, the health body says you should be getting it checked every five years.

The BHF states many people with high blood pressure feel fine, “so it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly”.

Moreover, cutting down on certain foods is one of the simplest ways to lower your blood pressure.

The NHS says: “A diet high in salt (or sodium) can cause raised blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

“Some foods are almost always high in salt because of the way they are made.”

It says that as well as reducing the amount of salt you eat and having a generally healthy diet, you should cut back on alcohol, lose weight if you’re overweight, cut down on caffeine, and if you are a smoker you should stop smoking.

The NHS says blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure – higher number – is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure – lower number – is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
As a general guide:

  • High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you’re over the age of 80)
  • Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

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