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Flushed face & other signs of high blood pressure

Updated April 17, 2017

High blood pressure is a serious condition, but some expert sources indicate that it does not trigger symptoms in those who have it. Opinions on this point vary, however, with some sources saying that very high blood pressure can cause noticeable reactions. Low-level symptoms that many people attribute to high blood pressure, however, also occur in people with normal blood pressure. These apparent signs of the conditions are caused by other factors, some of which may reflect organ damage caused by long-term and extreme high blood pressure.

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High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is defined as a sustained or recurring blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher. If left untreated, the condition damages arteries and formation of plaques on artery walls, greatly increasing people's risk of developing heart disease and stroke. People whose blood pressure reaches 200/120 or above require immediate treatment.

False Symptoms

Persistent or chronic high blood pressure---as opposed to brief periods of elevated pressure---does not trigger any symptoms, the American Heart Association (AHA) reports. But, according to the Mayo Clinic, once a person's pressure reaches dangerously high levels, it can trigger dull headache, dizzy spells and unusually frequent nosebleeds. In rare cases, people with early-stage high blood pressure may develop these symptoms as well, this source added.

Other Factors

According to Caringmedical.com, people with normal blood pressure are as likely to have the above-mentioned symptoms as those with high blood pressure, indicating that high blood pressure is not the causative factor. But, these reactions can be triggered by damage high blood pressure causes to the brain, eyes, heart and kidneys. "In rare cases, high blood pressure may cause brain swelling, which can lead to drowsiness and coma," this source adds.

Facial Flushing

Facial flushing is caused by dilation of blood vessels in the face, which can be triggered by emotional stress, hot weather, sun exposure, alcohol use, exercise, hot baths and wind. These factors can also raise blood pressure temporarily but, the AHA says, facial flushing is not related to the temporary spike in pressure, which is also a reaction, not a catalyst.

Medication Side-Effects

Although high blood pressure does not cause facial flushing, it can occur as a side effect of drugs that are designed to lower blood pressure, such as vasodilators, alpha channel blockers, and tamoxifen, the Mayo Clinic explains.


Diagnosis of high blood pressure has no telltale symptoms and, therefore, requires monitoring and confirmation by a physician, AHA asserts.

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About the Author

Barbara Bryant has been writing professionally for 25 years. She has contributed to "The Military Engineer" and ASCE's "Civil Engineering" magazines as well as many other publications. Through newsletters and blogs, Bryant specializes in health and fitness topics, drawing on expertise from personal trainers and a naturopathic doctor.

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