High blood pressure symptoms: Severe headaches could be a sign of the condition

Chris Evans reveals his wife gave him a blood pressure monitor

Known as hypertension, high blood pressure could lead to a hypertensive crisis – resulting in either a stroke or heart attack, two life-threatening conditions. How can you reduce your reading?

As certified by WebMD, extremely high blood pressure can cause the following:

  • Severe headaches
  • Nosebleed
  • Fatigue or confusion
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears

Severe headaches and nosebleeds could be an indication of a hypertensive crisis (a reading above 180/120mmHg) – this is a medical emergency.

Home blood pressure monitors, when used correctly, could help you keep track of your blood pressure readings.

Alternatively, some pharmacies can check your blood pressure reading or it can be recorded at routine GP appointments.

The NHS put forward a concerning reality: one in three adults in the UK have high blood pressure.

An ideal blood pressure reading is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg; anything higher than the latter is cause for concern.

A reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg means you need to take steps to “keep your blood pressure under control”.

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Recommended lifestyle changes from the NHS include:

  • Losing weight (if you’re overweight)
  • Reducing the amount of salt in your diet
  • Exercising regularly
  • Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine

Medication may also be prescribed by your doctor if needs be, so keeping on top of your blood pressure is key to your health.


“The more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure,” said the NHS, with the maximum recommended allowance being six grams (a teaspoonful) per day.

“You don’t have to add salt to your food to eat too much of it,” warned the health body.

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“Around 75 percent of the salt we eat is already in everyday foods such as bread, breakfast cereal and ready meals,” it explained.


The health body suggests looking at the salt intake by reading nutrition labels on everyday items, such as pizza, ketchup or breakfast cereals.

Cured meat and fish tends to be high in salt, and watch out for tinned vegetables with added salt.

There are tinned vegetables without added salt – you just need to observe the label.

“Go easy on soy sauce, mustard, pickles, mayonnaise and other table sauces, as these can all be high in salt,” it said.

For home cooking, use black pepper as an alternative to salt, as well as herbs and spices. Some to try include: chilli, ginger, garlic, and lime.

Making your own stock and gravy is also suggested, as well as baking or roasting vegetables, such as red peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, fennel, parsnips and squash.


Regularly consuming alcohol can also raise your blood pressure, so it’s recommended to spread any drinking over three days or more.

Drinking within the recommended 14 units per week is also highly advisable.

“Alcohol is also high in calories, which will make you gain weight and can further increase your blood pressure,” advised the NHS.


If you are overweight – and even if you’re not – exercise is key in reducing high blood pressure.

Physical activity helps to keep the heart and blood vessels in good condition.

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