Abnormal findings in high blood pressure

Your doctor may notice certain things during a physical exam that may show that high blood pressure has caused damage to organs such as the kidneys, blood vessels, or heart. When he or she finds things that aren't normal, they are called abnormal findings. These findings also may indicate that disease in an organ is causing the high blood pressure (secondary high blood pressure).

Abnormal findings may include:

  • Extra heart sounds caused by enlargement of the heart.
  • Swollen (distended) neck veins, which may point to possible heart failure.
  • Abnormal sounds when the doctor listens to the blood vessels in the abdomen using a stethoscope. These sounds may be caused by blood flow through a narrowed artery in the abdomen (abdominal bruits) or a narrowed artery leading to the kidney (renal artery stenosis) or by abnormal movement of blood through the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
  • Abnormal sound of blood flow (bruit) or diminished or absent blood flow (pulses) in the blood vessels of the arms and legs.
  • Abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen or legs (edema).
  • Abnormalities of the blood vessels in the back of the eye.

Abnormal findings that the doctor may notice during the physical exam of your heart include:

  • Rapid heart rate.
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia).
  • Increased heart size.
  • Clicks, murmurs, or abnormal heart sounds heard during a stethoscope exam.

These findings may be caused by high blood pressure or other conditions that affect your heart, and they indicate you may have heart problems.

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