High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the force that your blood exerts against the walls of your blood vessels. Hypertension can damage artery and blood vessel walls with time, leading to severe complications such as heart disease, stroke, and even death.
Hypertension typically has no symptoms, until you begin to experience problems. Therefore, it’s important to have your blood pressure checked frequently and know your numbers; normal blood pressure is at or under 120 over 80.
Here’s a look at the complications caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Damage to your arteries
Hypertension can harm the cells of your arteries’ inner lining. When fats from your food enter your bloodstream, they can gather in the damaged arteries, slowing blood flow throughout your body. Aneurysm is another serious health problem that can potentially rupture and cause fatal internal bleeding.
Damage to your heart
Hypertension can cause many problems for your heart, including coronary heart disease. In this condition, arteries narrowed and hurt by hypertension have trouble supplying blood to your heart. And when blood cannot flow smoothly to your heart, you can have angina, uneven heart rhythms or a cardiac arrest.
Damage to your brain
Your brain hinges on a healthy blood supply to work perfectly. However, hypertension can cause numerous problems, including transient ischemic attack in which there’s momentary disruption of blood supply to your brain. Stroke is another major complication of high blood pressure. A stroke happens when part of your brain is robbed of oxygen and nutrients, causing brain cells to perish. Blood vessels damaged by hypertension can narrow, rupture or leak. Dementia is another major problem caused by high blood pressure.
Damage to your kidneys
Hypertension can damage the blood vessels in and leading to your kidneys. The damage can worsen if you are both diabetic and hypertensive. Kidney scarring and kidney failure are two major complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Damage to your eyes
Hypertension can harm the small, delicate blood vessels that supply blood to your eyes, causing damage to your retina and nerve damage, which may lead to loss of vision or blindness.
The failure to have and maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction) becomes highly common in men as they turn 50. But men with hypertension are even more likely to experience sexual dysfunction, as inadequate blood flow can block blood from flowing to the penis.
High blood pressure also causes sexual dysfunction for women; reduced blood flow to the vagina can lead to a decline in sexual desire or stimulation, vaginal dryness, or trouble achieving orgasm.
In a nutshell
Uncontrolled hypertension is usually a chronic condition that steadily causes damage to all body functions. At times, however, blood pressure rises so swiftly and hard that requires immediate treatment, often with hospitalization. And if it happens, it can cause several serious medical conditions such as memory loss, stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, and blindness. Keeping it under control is key to a healthy life.