Blood pressure is dangerously high if it is above 180/120 mm Hg. At this severe level, high blood pressure can harm organs. It most often damages the brain, heart, kidneys, and eyes. It can be a life-threatening emergency.

High blood pressure emergencies are uncommon. But up to 2% of people with high blood pressure will have one at some point in their life. Contact your doctor right away if your blood pressure is above 180/120 mm Hg. If you are also having symptoms, seek immediate medical help.

Symptoms that may go with severe high blood pressure include:

  • headaches
  • bloody nose
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • faintness
  • vertigo
  • numbness and tingling
  • blurry vision or vision loss
  • vomiting
  • palpitations
  • lethargy
  • confusion

Without treatment, severe high blood pressure can lead to:

  • seizures
  • coma
  • stroke
  • heart failure
  • heart attack
  • kidney failure

Severe high blood pressure is dangerous. It is a medical emergency, especially if there are signs of brain or heart damage. People need treatment as soon as possible to lower their blood pressure. They usually need care in a hospital intensive care unit. Doctors can watch them closely and treat the high blood pressure quickly.

If blood pressure is severely high, you could die!