Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Hypertensive Crisis

Hypertensive crisis is considered as a serious vascular problem. It is characterized by a sudden spiking of blood pressure, which may lead to stroke. In this case, the systolic pressure becomes morbidly high (above 180 mmHg) and the diastolic pressure (more than 120 mmHg) increases, as well.

These manifestations may occur due to vascular resistance. Normally, the blood vessels work as a passageway of the blood. However, if the blood vessels become inflamed or an occlusion in the opening of the vessels may occur (clots or plaque) will result to vascular resistance. Thus, it will lead into the spiking level of the blood pressure.

Causes of Hypertensive Crisis

There are several factors that may contribute to the development of hypertensive crisis. These factors may occur to anybody who has poor lifestyle and possesses other underlying health problems. 

The causes include: 

  1. Failure to take oral medication for hypertension. A person who is diagnosed with hypertension should take his or her oral meds to normalize the blood pressure. Failure to do so will lead to the increasing blood pressure.
  2. Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke). Any person who had previously suffered from stroke may develop vascular resistance. This condition is characterized by insufficient blood and oxygen supply to the brain tissue.
  3. Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack). An individual who had heart attack may develop into hypertensive crisis. This condition is manifested with poor blood and oxygen supply to the cardiac muscles. As a result, the cardiac tissue may suffer from ischemia. This will affect the ability of the heart to pump sufficient blood to the nearby vital organs.
  4. Congestive Heart Failure. Anyone who is diagnosed with congestive heart failure is susceptible for hypertensive crisis. This condition is described as an insufficient ability of the heart to pump blood due to cardiac anomalies. There are two types of CHF. The left and right side heart failure.
  5. Kidney Failure (renal problem). If a person suffers from acute or chronic renal failure is predisposed to suffer from hypertensive crisis. Normally, the kidney stimulates the production of renin. Renin is a hormone that works to stabilize the blood pressure. However, in the case of renal failure, the kidney fails to stimulate renin. Thus, the stabilization of blood pressure is affected.

Types of Hypertensive Crisis

This condition is classified into two distinctive categories. The urgent hypertensive crisis is described as an extreme high blood pressure. However, most physicians may not suspect any organ damage for this case. Meanwhile, the emergency hypertensive crisis is the same with the first category but it has possibilities to damage the vital organs in the body.

Anyone who has emergency hypertensive crisis should avail of immediate medical response. This is considered as a life-threatening condition that may lead to mortality. 

Clinical Manifestations of Hypertensive Crisis

A person who is diagnosed with hypertensive crisis may complain of the following signs and symptoms: 
  1. Unresponsiveness to stimuli
  2. Shortness of breathing (bradypnea, below 12 respiratory rates per minute)
  3. Severe level of anxiety
  4. Feeling nauseated and vomiting may occur
  5. Severe chest pain, extreme headache that can lead to confusion and visual problem (blurring of vision).
  6. Seizure episodes
If someone knows a person who has these signs and symptoms, he or she should ask for immediate medical help. The medical treatments for this condition are intravenous fluid therapy and oral medication (antihypertensives) – By Edterchelle Soriano