When to Go to the Hospital for Blood Pressure

Measured in millimeters of mercury, blood pressure optimally measures higher than 90/60 and lower than 120/80 13. If blood pressure runs higher or lower than that over time, it's considered chronic high- or low-blood pressure and may carry few, if any, symptoms 123. If blood pressure measures much higher or lower than usual, or if you have acute symptoms associated with your blood pressure, seek immediate medical attention at a hospital 123.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Low-Blood Pressure

Low-blood pressure, also called hypotension, often signals an underlying medical problem, especially if it drops abruptly 13. Symptoms of low-blood pressure include nausea, fainting, blurry vision, cold skin and fatigue 13. Some conditions such as dehydration and pregnancy cause mildly low-blood pressure that is usually not a cause for concern 13. Some people's blood pressure normally runs low 13. Go to the hospital if your low-blood pressure comes on suddenly as a result of losing blood 123. In some cases, a drastic drop in blood pressure after an injury signals shock, which can cause death in a short time if left untreated 13. Seek immediate medical attention or go to the hospital if you experience a severe drop in blood pressure after taking medication or during an allergic reaction 13. If your blood pressure drops drastically and quickly while you are sick with a fever, it could signal septicemia, a condition requiring immediate medical intervention 123. Make an appointment to talk with your doctor at your next convenience if you have mild low-blood pressure that causes occasional fainting or other symptoms 123. Chronic low-blood pressure could signal an underlying medical condition such as a nutrient deficiency or a rare nervous system condition called Shy-Drager Syndrome 13. Some people experience lower blood pressure over the age of 65 or after eating 13.

High-Blood Pressure

High-blood pressure, also called hypertension, often occurs over the course of many years 123. While a potentially dangerous condition putting the patient at a raised risk for heart attack and stroke, most people have no symptoms. Doctors normally find high-blood pressure during routine screenings 123. Once a doctor diagnoses high-blood pressure, she will prescribe medications and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise to help alleviate hypertension and lower the risk of heart disease, kidney failure, stroke and other potential complications 123. Go to a hospital instead of waiting for your next doctor's appointment if your high-blood pressure causes acute symptoms such as a severe headache or spikes above 180/110 123. Blood pressure over 180/110 is considered a hypertensive crisis needing immediate medical attention 13. If you experience sudden confusion, weakness on one side, inability to speak, sudden vision trouble or extreme weakness or dizziness, call 9-1-1 immediately and go to a hospital. Those symptoms could be the early warning signs of a stroke.

The Wrap Up

If blood pressure measures much higher or lower than usual, or if you have acute symptoms associated with your blood pressure, seek immediate medical attention at a hospital 123. If your blood pressure drops drastically and quickly while you are sick with a fever, it could signal septicemia, a condition requiring immediate medical intervention 123. Low-blood pressure, also called hypotension, often signals an underlying medical problem, especially if it drops abruptly 13.

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