When You Should Go To The Hospital For Blood Pressure

When my blood pressure was a constant struggle, I used to wonder when you should go to the hospital for blood pressure. It wasn’t an enjoyable thought and it would cause me more stress thinking about it. Knowing when to go to the hospital is something that everybody with blood pressure struggles needs to know. Because of this I did a lot of research on the topic and was surprised at my findings (resource).

When you should go to the hospital for blood pressure? You should go to the hospital for blood pressure if after taking your BP for the 2nd time, either number is higher than 180/120 and you are experiencing any of the these symptoms:

  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Back Pain
  • Numbness/Weakness
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Change In Vision

This post will explain to you in more detail the difference between when you should go to the hospital for blood pressure or just call your doctor. In addition, I’ll let you know about the life threatening consequences that can occur if you fail to take action in this situation.

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When You Should Go To The Hospital For Blood Pressure

I can understand someone hesitating to call 911. I’ve called 911 before, and that alone can be stressful. Knowing there’s lights and sirens coming, neighbors wondering what’s going on, feeling like you caused a commotion over possibly nothing are all natural thoughts and feelings. The following is the situation when you should go to the hospital for blood pressure. If you ever get in this situation, please place the importance of the moment over the hesitancy to pick up that phone and actually do it.

Let’s say one day you decide to check your blood pressure and your readings indicate that either number is higher than 180/120. Remember, it doesn’t have to be both numbers, it can be just one number higher. What you have to do is wait about 5 minutes and measure your blood pressure again. (Make sure that whenever you’re monitoring blood pressure at home that you are following proper BP taking tips. I cover this in detail in another blog post in this same website right here.)

After 5 minutes, if the 2nd reading is just as high and you ARE experiencing one of the following symptoms.…CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY: (resource)

  • Chest Pain
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Back Pain
  • Numbness/Weakness
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Change In Vision

Do not wait to see if your pressure comes down. Don’t worry about creating a commotion or what your neighbors might think. I’ll say it again, if either number is over 180 or 120 and you are experiencing one of the above symptoms…call 911 immediately! (resource)

The Consequences Of Blood Pressure High Enough To Go To The Hospital

I want you to place more importance of making that call to go to the hospital over not making it. To tell you how important making that call is, I want to inform you about the medical issues that you may experience from uncontrolled blood pressure that’s over 180 or 120 (resource).

  • Stroke: A sudden interruption in the blood supply of the brain.
  • Loss of Consciousness.
  • Memory Loss.
  • Heart Attack: When the blood flow to part of the heart is blocked.
  • Damage To The Eyes & Kidneys.
  • Loss Of Kidney Function.
  • Aortic Dissection: This is when there is a tear in the wall of your major artery, aorta, carrying blood out of the heart. This can lead to aortic rupture or decreased blood flow to your organs.
  • Angina: It’s a severe pain in the chest that is caused by reduced blood flow to the heart. The pain can also spread to the shoulders, arms and neck.
  • Pulmonary Edema: It is fluid accumulation in the tissue and air spaces of the lungs. it can lead to fatal respiratory distress or cardiac arrest.
  • Eclampsia: A condition that causes a pregnant woman to develop seizures or a coma.

As you can see these medical problems that can result from having blood pressure high enough to go to the hospital are very serious. Some of them can lead to a fatal ending so please take them seriously and also share this article on your social media or with a friend who might be experiencing high blood pressure.

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The Blood Pressure Category That Requires You To Go To The Hospital Or Call A Doctor: Hypertensive Crisis

There are 5 blood pressure categories In the Blood Pressure Chart. From least serious to serious they are Normal, Elevated, High Blood Pressure Stage 1, High Blood Pressure Stage 2 and Hypertensive Crisis (resource).

Hypertensive crisis is the blood pressure category when your numbers are high enough when you should go to the hospital for blood pressure. In order for you to understand this situation in better detail, I’m going to provide you with exact examples of blood pressure readings that fall into this category. In addition, I’m giving you the signs and symptoms of a hypertensive crisis.

In this range the higher number (systolic blood pressure) is higher than 180 AND/OR the lower number (diastolic blood pressure) is higher than 120. Now listen up, because the AND/OR is extremely important. This means that for your blood pressure to be in hypertensive crisis only one of the 2 numbers have to be either higher than 180 for the systolic number or higher than 120 for the diastolic number.

The following are some blood pressure readings that would indicate you’re in hypertensive crisis:

  • 160/130: Even though the systolic number is 180 or less, you’re in a hypertensive crisis because the diastolic number is higher than 120.
  • 190/105: Even though the diastolic number is 120 or less, you’re in a hypertensive crisis because the systolic number is higher than 180.
  • 185/125: You’re in hypertensive crisis because either number are both higher than 180 or 120.

Signs And Symptoms Of A Hypertensive Crisis

A higher blood pressure reading as described above may be accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms. If you develop any of the signs above it would be a good idea to check your blood pressure to make sure it’s not in a hypertensive crisis (resource).

  1. Severe Headache
  2. Shortness of Breath
  3. Nosebleeds
  4. Severe Anxiety

Hypertensive Urgency

A hypertensive urgency is a part of hypertensive crisis where your blood pressure numbers are high, over 180/120, but it’s a situation where you have to call a doctor and NOT go to the hospital. And believe me, even though the blood pressure numbers in this range are scary, it’s a huge relief that you’re only calling a doctor instead of rushing to the hospital.

A hypertensive urgency is when your blood pressure numbers, as described above, fall into the hypertensive category but you are not experiencing any of the symptoms discussed earlier: chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision or difficulty breathing.

In this situation you will contact your doctor immediately and be guided by what they advise you. Normally, your healthcare provider may have you adjust or add medications but rarely requires hospitalization.

Common Blood Pressure Medications

The following is a list of common blood pressure medications that a doctor may recommend for blood pressure that is high enough to go to a hospital or would require an immediate call to the doctor such as in hypertensive crisis (resource):

  • Diuretics: They help the body get rid of excess fluid and sodium to help control blood pressure.
  • Beta-blockers: Help reduce the heart rate and the heart’s output of blood which lowers blood pressure.
  • Ace inhibitors: They help the body produce less angiotensin, which helps the blood vessels open up lowering blood pressure.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers: They relax and open up narrowed blood vessels, reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure.
  • Angiotensin ll receptor blockers: They block the effects of angiotensin keeping the blood vessels open reducing blood pressure.
  • Alpha Blockers: These blockers help reduce the arteries’ resistance, relaxing the muscle tone of the vascular walls.
  • Alpha-2 receptor agonists: These drugs decrease the activity of the sympathetic portion of the involuntary nervous system which helps reduce blood pressure.

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Related Questions

What is emergency treatment for high blood pressure at home? An emergency means you’re in Hypertensive Crisis (BP is higher than 180 and/or 120) and you have any of the these: chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision or difficulty breathing.

  • Call 911 and follow their advice.
  • Don’t Panic
  • Sit or lay down.
  • Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Keep room temperature comfortable.

What to expect from emergency room high blood pressure treatment? Expect the following from an emergency room high blood pressure treatment:

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on blood pressure topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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