High blood pressure, caused by lifestyle issues like obesity and not getting enough exercise, among other causes, is a serious disease. If it gets too high, specifically 180/120 or higher, and you have the symptoms listed here, you need to call 911 or go to the emergency room.
There are times when high blood pressure (hypertension) is considered an emergency and requires urgent medical attention. This can occur if your blood pressure rises quickly and severely.
Seek emergency care if your blood pressure reading is 180/120 or higher AND you have any of the following symptoms, which may be signs of organ damage:
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Pregnant women, unlike adults who aren’t pregnant, should contact their healthcare provider if their blood pressure is 140/90 or higher. The following symptoms may happen alongside the high blood pressure:
What counts as normal or abnormal blood pressure in a child is different than an adult’s depending on age, weight, sex and height. However, the blood pressure reading of 180/120 that indicates a medical emergency for adults also means one for a child.
Not getting enough exercise, having obesity and diseases such as diabetes make you at-risk for high blood pressure.
Your healthcare provider will interview you when you enter the emergency room. Do your best to prepare yourself to answer the following questions, and more, that your healthcare provider may ask.
If you’re unable to check your blood pressure, but think it might be high, don’t hesitate to call 911 or go to the emergency room.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/14/2021.
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