How does hypertension cause your face to flush?


Quick Answer

When someone has a higher blood pressure than normal, his face flushes because his facial blood vessels dilate, according to the American Heart Association. Blood vessels dilate to allow the extra blood to flow through more easily, explains the National Institute on Aging.

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Full Answer

Hypertension is characterized by a blood pressure above 140 over 90 millimeters of mercury, where one or both readings are high, says Mayo Clinic. Most adults develop primary hypertension, which occurs gradually and has no identifiable cause, explains Mayo Clinic. Secondary hypertension causes higher blood pressure than primary hypertension and results from conditions such as kidney and thyroid problems, adrenal gland tumors, alcohol abuse, illegal drugs and some medications such as cold remedies, birth control pills, decongestants and some prescription drugs.

Hypertension generally has no symptoms, says the American Heart Association. You should not rely on symptoms such as sweating, difficulty sleeping, facial flushing and nervousness to diagnose hypertension, since other conditions also cause these symptoms. Hypertension is also not the sole cause of headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness or blood spots in the eyes. You should know your blood pressure figures to effectively prevent the condition since there are no reliable signs to alert you to the problem, warns the American Heart Association.

The only time when obvious symptoms occur is during a hypertensive crisis, when a patient’s blood pressure soars to threateningly high levels, says the American Heart Association. At this point, the patient experiences symptoms such as severe anxiety, nosebleeds, shortness of breath and severe headaches, and requires emergency medical attention.

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