By: Thomas Pickering, MD, DPhil, FRCP, Director of Integrative and Behavioral Cardiology Program
of the Cardiovascular Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.
For the most part, you can't tell if you have high blood pressure, and most hypertensive people have no symptoms. So the only way to find out if it's high is to have it measured. This statement may come as a surprise, because many people are convinced that they can tell when their pressure is high. It's certainly true that when you get angry or anxious you may feel yourself tensing up, and your heart pounding. You may even go red in the face, something that's often erroneously associated with high blood pressure. And you're right: your pressure is likely to be high at such times. But that's perfectly normal, and unless you spend your life being permanently angry, which fortunately most of us don't, it doesn't mean much. High blood pressure is of concern only when it's still high when you are not angry or tense.