High blood pressure often develops with no symptoms. Dizziness that results from high blood pressure isn’t a symptom to ignore. Here’s what you can do about it.

High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” because it often develops over time with no symptoms. If you’re experiencing symptoms with your high blood pressure, your body is sending you a signal that it’s now time to take action.

Dizziness that appears alongside high blood pressure is a serious symptom that could be an indication of a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. In the case of a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency services.

This article will explore why you may become dizzy with high blood pressure, who’s most at risk, and what you can do to manage this symptom.

There isn’t a lot of data on how many people who have high blood pressure experience dizziness as a symptom, but about 60% of Americans have high blood pressure by the age of 60 years. About one-third of Americans have no symptoms of this condition.

Dizziness can appear as a symptom of high blood pressure, but it’s more often linked to severe complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure, such as a heart attack or stroke.

You may also experience dizziness as the result of low blood pressure or if your blood pressure is lowered through antihypertensive medications too quickly.

A doctor can guide you through blood pressure management to try and lower your blood pressure in order to avoid lightheadedness.

Dizziness can appear with high blood pressure in more advanced stages, but it can also be a symptom of a specific form of high blood pressure called “pulmonary hypertension.”

Pulmonary hypertension is a condition in which increased pressure on blood vessels occurs in a very specific place: your lungs.

Because pulmonary hypertension makes your heart work harder to pump blood through narrow vessels to get oxygen into the lungs, symptoms such as shortness of breath and dizziness are common in people with this condition.

As a whole, pulmonary hypertension is less common than other forms of high blood pressure, affecting only about 1% of the global population.

Rates of high blood pressure increase with age. About 27% of people younger than 60 years of age have hypertension, but that number increases to 60% after 60 years and affects as many as 75% of people older than 80 years.

As high blood pressure increases — and the longer it’s not well-controlled — the more likely complications and symptoms, such as dizziness, are to develop.

Additionally, studies have shown that other medical difficulties and a gradual increase in frailty in older adults may make symptoms, such as dizziness, more pronounced.

Older adults may also be at a high risk of experiencing side effects of medications or interactions among multiple medications that could lead to dizziness and falls. This risk is especially true when diuretics, which are often used to help manage hypertension, are included in the mix of medications.

Dizziness can appear with high blood pressure, but it can also be a stand-alone symptom of stress and anxiety. Stress can also make any difficulties you have with blood pressure worse.

Because dizziness is related to hypertension and stress separately, the combined effects of these two conditions can increase your risk of dizziness.

Stress reduction is often an important part of the overall plan you can create with a healthcare team to treat high blood pressure.

The first thing you may want to do, if you become dizzy, is to sit or lie down. Getting off your feet and to a safe place will help you avoid a fall or other consequences of dizziness.

If you know you have high blood pressure, checking your blood pressure may be the next step. People who have hypertension are usually treated with a combination of medications and lifestyle changes, so you may want to consider the following questions:

These questions can help in discussions with a healthcare professional or emergency professionals to find you the right treatment. Lowering your blood pressure too quickly can increase dizziness, so dangerously high blood pressure will be treated gradually.

If you’re experiencing ongoing dizziness and you’re already being treated for high blood pressure, a healthcare team will want to know what medications you take and when you took your last dose. Dizziness with blood pressure treatment could be an indication that a doctor needs to adjust your medications or dosage.

Don’t attempt to alter your hypertension treatment regimen without talking with a healthcare team first.

There could also be causes for your dizziness other than high blood pressure.

If you’re experiencing ongoing difficulties with dizziness alongside treatment for high blood pressure, a doctor may also investigate other possible causes. Some other common causes of dizziness can include conditions such as:

If your dizziness is the result of one of these conditions, it will need to be treated separately from your hypertension based on the particular cause. For example, vertigo will be treated differently than low blood sugar, and neither of these issues share treatment strategies with hypertension.

Consult with a doctor about specific treatments for your individual symptoms and medical history. Treatment of your high blood pressure and dizziness may require a complex approach.

Dizziness can occur with high blood pressure, but it can also be a symptom of other medical issues or even a complication of uncontrolled or severe high blood pressure.

If you can’t control your dizziness and you have dangerously high blood pressure, seek immediate medical care by calling 911 or local emergency services.

If dizziness is an ongoing symptom you experience with or without high blood pressure treatment, consult with a healthcare team about your medications and other possible causes.