High blood pressure: How your nose could show urgent warning sign of extreme hypertension

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High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition, impacting an estimated 14.4 million people in the UK. Unfortunately, hypertension does not always have obvious symptoms which is why it is so vital you have regular check-ups from your GP.

However, in more extreme cases of high blood pressure, certain rather unusual symptoms may begin to arise.

Nose bleeds have been found to be linked to people who are suffering from hypertensive crisis – an extreme form of high blood pressure.

What is a hypertensive crisis?

A hypertensive crisis is a sudden spike in blood pressure.

This usually occurs when the blood pressure exceeds 180/120 mm HG.

Hypertensive crisis is far rarer than high blood pressure alone and is often considered a medical emergency as it can be life-threatening.

The extreme condition can lead to blood vessel damage which, in turn, may lead to heart attacks, stroke, eye damage, kidney damage, eclampsia or pulmonary oedema (a condition caused by excess h fluid in the lungs).

What is the link between nosebleeds and high blood pressure?

There is some speculation among medical experts as to whether or not there is a direct link between high blood pressure and nose bleeds.

A 2020 study by the Korean National Health Insurance Service found that, in a group of 35,749 participants, those with a history of hypertension had an increased risk of nosebleeds which resulted in hospital visits.

The American Heart Association, on the other hand, found that nose bleeds were only caused by high blood pressure if a person was experiencing a hypertensive crisis.

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What are the other symptoms of hypertensive crisis?

People with high blood pressure should have the condition caught by doctors before it escalated further if they are having regular check-ups.

However, in the event hypertensive crisis occurs, patients may begin to experience multiple symptoms.

Along with damage to the blood vessels in the nose, patients may also find they are suffering with:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

  • Severe anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

What else can nosebleeds be a sign of?

Nosebleeds are not always a sign of an urgent medical condition and can be caused by something as simple as a cut in the nostril.

Some conditions that can lead to a nose bleed include:

  • Allergies
  • Vigorous nose blowing or sneezing
  • Picking or scratching the nose or nostril
  • Traumatic nose injury
  • An upper respiratory infection
  • Foreign objects suck in the nose
  • Inhaling cold or dry air, such as in the wintertime
  • Inhaling chemicals

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