Nosebleeds are a common occurrence. In fact, nearly everyone experiences at least one in their lifetime. They happen when the inside of your nose starts to bleed, and although it can be unsettling, it usually does not cause alarm.
However, experiencing frequent or heavy nosebleeds could be a sign of a more serious condition — and you might be wondering if high blood pressure is to blame.
High blood pressure (or hypertension) develops when the pressure inside your blood vessels is too high. It damages your heart over time, increasing your risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. But are nosebleeds a warning sign, or are they unrelated?
Researchers still aren’t sure how nosebleeds and hypertension are linked, but our team at Medical Associates Of North Texas is here to help you find answers.
All about nosebleeds
The medical term for a nosebleed is epistaxis. Nosebleeds can happen to anyone, but they’re particularly common in children and older adults.
Bleeds usually happen when the small blood vessels that line the inside of your nose get broken. These blood vessels are delicate, and the following are some of the most common nosebleed triggers:
- Allergies or respiratory illness
- Blowing your nose too hard
- Dry air
- Getting hit in your nose
- Picking or scratching inside your nose
Most of the time, nosebleeds stop on their own within 10 minutes. If you get a nosebleed and it doesn’t stop, or the bleeding is very heavy, seek medical attention.
Is there a link between nosebleeds and hypertension?
You’re not alone if you’ve heard that high blood pressure can cause nosebleeds. It’s a common assumption — but the topic is still debatable. While most experts believe that hypertension alone doesn’t cause nosebleeds unless your blood pressure is extremely high, it can damage the blood vessels inside your nose, making bleeding more likely.
Some recent research has found that hypertension may increase your risk of more severe nosebleeds. One study indicates that people with high blood pressure are 2.7 times more likely to need emergency care for nosebleeds than people with healthy blood pressure.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is prevalent and doesn’t cause many early warning signs. An estimated one-third of people with high blood pressure don’t know they have it.
That means you shouldn’t wait for symptoms before getting screened. Regular blood pressure checks at the doctor’s office are the only way to get a diagnosis and protect your health.
We work with you to develop a treatment plan if we diagnose high blood pressure. Lifestyle changes and medication are generally very effective and can significantly lower your risk of severe complications like stroke and heart attack.
Hypertensive crisis: a medical emergency
There is one situation in which nosebleeds and hypertension are clearly linked: hypertensive crisis. A hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency where your blood pressure rises above 180/120 very quickly.
Hypertensive crisis causes nosebleeds about 17% of the time. This sudden rise in blood pressure may be accompanied by anxiety, severe headache, shortness of breath, or nosebleeds. If you have any symptoms of a hypertensive crisis, call 911 or seek immediate medical care.
Has it been a while since your last blood pressure screening? Don’t wait until more serious symptoms develop. Schedule an appointment at Medical Associates Of North Texas to get the care you need. Send us a message online or call our Fort Worth, Texas, office at 972-433-7178 today.