High blood pressure and nosebleeds commonly present themselves together. But is there a cause-and-effect relationship between the two conditions or more?
- Research suggests that although there is a connection between high blood pressure and nosebleeds, they might not be directly related.
- In most cases, a potentially fatal hypertensive crisis is blamed for nose bleeds.
- Frequent or long-lasting nosebleeds with high blood pressure call for immediate medical assistance.
The fact is that uncontrolled elevated blood pressure significantly increases the likelihood of life-threatening ailments like heart attack and stroke.
But is there a connection between high blood pressure and nosebleeds? Although hypertension does not typically cause nosebleeds, several studies have found a correlation between the two.
So, what does research suggest, and when to seek medical help?
High Blood Pressure and Nosebleeds: The Link
As a result, the blood vessels in your nose are weakened, making them more vulnerable to injury. Consequently, this increases the time it takes to clot blood and stop nose bleeds.
In a comprehensive population study of over 35,000 participants, Korean scientists found that people with hypertension had a 47% higher risk for severe nose bleeds.
Furthermore, individuals with high blood pressure were 2.7 times more likely to be treated in an emergency room for nose bleeds. These patients were also more than four times more inclined to require nasal packing, which involves inserting and inflating a device in the nasal passage to stop bleeding.
Whether or not people with high blood pressure experience more severe or frequent nosebleeds is still debatable. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure should not cause nosebleeds unless you have a hypertensive crisis.
What is a hypertensive crisis?
If your blood pressure suddenly rises above 180/120 mm Hg, you may have a hypertensive crisis. You can see our blood pressure chart here to understand your reading.
A hypertensive crisis is potentially fatal and calls for immediate medical intervention. If your blood pressure is consistently over this level, you might develop complications like:
- Kidney damage
- Pulmonary edema
- Heart attack
Nose bleeds are also a common occurrence with hypertensive crisis. This is because constant high blood pressure damages blood vessels in the nose and other organs.
Other symptoms accompanying nose bleeds might include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
Are Nosebleeds and High Blood Pressure a Sign of Other Health Problems?
Nearly half of the adult American population has hypertension, so nosebleeds are not a cause for caution. Instead, nosebleeds might result from various factors like dry air, nose-picking, or similar behaviors.
Similarly, alcoholism, cancer, illegal drug use, and nasal sprays can also cause nosebleeds. Cocaine use is one situation where high blood pressure and nosebleeds may present themselves together.
There are many reasons why people develop hypertension, including age. Therefore, it is vital to frequently monitor your pressure and keep it under control with lifestyle changes or medication.
Several complications can arise overtime with untreated high blood pressure. Moreover, high blood pressure has been linked to an increased chance of nosebleeds. More analysis is needed to understand the connection between the two conditions thoroughly.
Nosebleeds are not a sign of danger or a severe ailment. However, if bleeding persists for more than 20 minutes, is heavy, or appears after a head injury, speak to a doctor as soon as possible.
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Papadopoulus, Dimitris. P. et al. “Hypertension Crisis.” Blood Pressure 19.6 (2010): 328-336. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/08037051.2010.488052
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“Facts About Hypertension.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022) https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm