However, it is important to note that a person’s blood pressure naturally varies depending on a variety of factors. Some factors include the method of measurement, time of day, and whether you are sitting or laying down. While occasional fluctuations in blood pressure is normal, prolonged elevation is a cause for concern.
Defining malignant hypertension
Building on the different stages mentioned above, malignant hypertension is a syndrome that includes a rapid and excessive rise in blood pressure accompanied by retinopathy. Retinopathy is damage to the blood vessels to the retina of the eyes. Because the retinas are essential for vision, lack of blood flow or destruction of the vessels leads to symptoms such as blurring or loss of sight.
Like a hypertensive crisis, malignant or accelerated hypertension is a medical emergency.
Some of the causes or factors that contribute to uncontrolled blood pressure include:
- Not complying with your prescribed medications
- Suddenly stopping or underdosing of antihypertensive medications
- Taking certain medications (e.g. stimulants, amphetamines)
- Renal artery stenosis
- Kidney disease
- Endocrine dysfunction (e.g. pheochromocytoma)
- Central nervous system disorders (e.g. brain trauma)
How dangerous is malignant hypertension?
The word “malignant” is usually associated with cancer. Although malignant hypertension is not a type of cancer, it is just as scary. The biggest danger of elevated blood pressure is the damage it does to the blood vessels throughout the body.