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Many individuals have hypertension, or high blood pressure, but don’t even know it. Nearly 33% of people with hypertension don’t realize they have it. This is because the only way to see if you have hypertension is by getting regular checkups and monitoring your blood pressure closely. Once you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is essential to work with your physician to bring it under control. However, it is also critical to be aware of the signs of complications that can result from high blood pressure. Here are five signs to watch for if you have hypertension.

Fatigue or Confusion
While it may seem reasonable to be a bit tired after a long day, feeling fatigued on a regular basis can be a sign of something more serious. Sudden confusion can be a sign of a stroke. Strokes happen when a clot blocks or bursts a blood vessel in the brain. This means part of your brain isn’t getting the blood and oxygen it requires. When that happens, part of your brain begins to die, and since the brain controls your thoughts and movement, your ability to move, think, and function can be impaired. Strokes, in turn, can lead to memory loss. Memory issues and vascular dementia can also result from chronic hypertension. 

Vision Problems
The condition of the tiny blood vessels in your eyes can deteriorate over time when you have high blood pressure. This damage is referred to as retinopathy and can reduce blood flow to the retina. This can result in blurred vision and even a complete loss of sight. Lack of blood flow to the optic nerve can also cause nerve damage that can leave you temporarily or even permanently blind. There is also the possibility of fluid building up under the retina as a result of long-term hypertension, which can distort your vision and has the potential to cause scarring the impairs sight. 

Difficulty Breathing
Difficulty breathing can be a sign of a heart attack. Heart attacks are the result of excessive strain and damage from high blood pressure on the coronary arteries. If you have hypertension, over time, these arteries begin to narrow and are hardened by plaque. When an artery becomes blocked due to the plaque or a blood clot, it interrupts the blood flow to the heart muscle. This damages the heart muscle by depriving it of oxygen and nutrients that it requires to continue beating. 

Blood in the Urine
It may surprise you to know that high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure. Our kidneys have a large number of blood vessels, which can become damaged as a result of long-term hypertension. If the blood vessels and arteries around the kidneys no longer provide the kidneys with enough oxygen and nutrients, they cease to function. The break down of these blood vessels may also result in blood in your urine. 

Chest Pain
If you have hypertension, it is vital to know the signs of a heart attack. One of the most common and well-recognized symptoms is chest pain. Though you don’t have to experience chest pain to have a heart attack, it is a key indicator of a hypertensive crisis. Along with or instead of chest pain, you may experience pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, back, and arms. You may feel nauseous and light-headed and be short of breath. 

If you should experience any of these signs, you need to seek immediate medical attention.