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A high blood pressure emergency is a serious condition that can happen when a person's blood pressure gets much higher than normal. When a person's blood pressure gets very high, it can lead to problems in 1 or more of the following organs:

●  Eyes – Problems can include bleeding in the back of the eye, or swelling of the nerve that runs from the eye to the brain.

● Brain – Problems can include swelling or bleeding in the brain, or a stroke. A stroke is when a part of the brain is damaged because of a problem with blood flow.

● Kidneys – Very high blood pressure can lead to kidney failure, which is when the kidneys stop working.

● Heart – Heart problems can include a heart attack, heart failure, or damage to a major blood vessel.

Without treatment right away, these problems can lead to death.

When your doctor or nurse tells you your blood pressure, they say 2 numbers. For example, your doctor might say that your blood pressure is "140 over 90." When people have a high blood pressure emergency, their blood pressure is usually "180 over 120" or higher.

Other terms doctors might use for a high blood pressure emergency are "hypertensive emergency" or "malignant hypertension."

Sometimes, a person's blood pressure is much higher than normal, but it hasn't damaged any organs. Doctors call this "hypertensive urgency." Hypertensive urgency is not usually treated the same as a high blood pressure emergency.

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