Fatigue and high blood pressure are linked in several ways. In people with chronic high blood pressure who are not receiving treatment, fatigue can be a symptom, as well as an indicator of damage to the cardiovascular system. In addition, certain medications used to manage high blood pressure have fatigue as a side effect, especially during the adjustment period when patients first start taking the medication. High blood pressure is usually associated with a constellation of other symptoms.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is defined as the point when blood pressure measurements start reaching 140/90 or higher. Many people do not experience symptoms, especially in the early stage, and the increased pressure does not directly cause fatigue. If the patient is not treated, however, the chronic hypertension starts to damage the organs of the body, including the kidneys, heart, eyes, and brain.
When organs are damaged due to high blood pressure, the patient may quickly become fatigued. He or she can also experience symptoms like nausea, blurred vision, and confusion, depending on which organs are damaged and the extent of the damage. Such symptoms may lead the patient to seek medical attention, and if the high blood pressure has not already been identified, it will likely be diagnosed at this time. A medical professional will also ask about symptoms to gauge the severity and duration of the problem.
Patients with high blood pressure who start taking medications to manage it when other measures do not work can also develop fatigue. In this case, fatigue and high blood pressure are linked because when people first start taking medications, the body can sense the reduced blood flow as the blood pressure starts to drop. This can cause dizziness and fatigue until the body adjusts to the more normal blood pressure, at which point the patient should start to feel better. Patients on medication who are experiencing fatigue can discuss the possibility of medication holidays with a healthcare professional during the adjustment period if they feel the fatigue is debilitating.
People can avoid fatigue and other problems by taking prompt action when their blood pressure starts to rise. In the early stages, hypertension may be manageable with diet and exercise, before any damage has set in or medication becomes necessary. Having blood pressure measurements taken regularly will allow people to identify rises in blood pressure when the problem is still easy to treat.