Accelerated hypertension is an emergency medical condition in which the blood pressure suddenly rises to a dangerously high level. As a result, an individual can experience immediate chest pain, numbness, and mental confusion. Permanent organ damage is possible if the condition is not recognized and treated immediately. Doctors and emergency medical technicians usually respond to accelerated hypertension by administering intravenous medications and fluids until blood pressure becomes stable. Follow-up examinations typically are important to try to identify and treat the underlying cause of blood pressure issues.
Blood pressure can rise quickly for many different reasons. People with a history of kidney problems and heart disease are at an especially increased risk of developing the condition. Illicit drug use, alcohol withdrawal, hyperthyroidism, and pregnancy complications are also known to cause accelerated hypertension in some people. In addition, about one percent of people who have chronic blood pressure problems develop accelerated hypertension, though doctors cannot always determine what prompts sudden rises.
Accelerated hypertension is usually accompanied by shortness of breath and chest pain. Many people experience some degree of numbness in their legs, arms, and face, and vision tends to become blurry. Symptoms of mental confusion, restlessness, and fatigue are also common. If a person does not receive treatment for hypertension, he or she can have a seizure or even slip into a coma. When blood pressure is not stabilized, it can lead to permanent damage of the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, and other vital organs in the body. It usually is essential to visit the hospital or call an emergency response number at the first signs of accelerated hypertension.
Upon admittance into the emergency room, a doctor can try to stabilize blood pressure by administering an intravenous drug called a vasodilator. The medicine is given to relax tightened blood vessels and promote regular blood flow throughout the body. After providing emergency medicine, a team of specialists can attempt to identify underlying problems. Specialists usually take blood samples and chest x-rays to look for abnormalities. A diagnostic test known as an electrocardiograph is performed to monitor electrical activity in the heart to ensure that the organ is functioning properly.
Most patients who experience accelerated hypertension are kept in the hospital for several hours or days so that body systems can be monitored. Doctors can treat the underlying causes accordingly by prescribing oral medications or performing surgery to correct structural defects and clear blockages. With effective emergency treatment and frequent checkups, most people do not experience recurring episodes of accelerated hypertension.