The Dangers of High Blood Pressure

by Connie Limon

The Dangers of High Blood Pressure

The Dangers of High Blood Pressure by Connie Limon

High blood pressure left uncontrolled can damage your body for years before symptoms develop. It is very important to successfully manage your high blood pressure so you don�t wind up with a disability, a poor quality of life or even a fatal heart attack.

The following is some of the complications high blood pressure can cause when left untreated:

� Damage to your arteries: High blood pressure increases the pressure of blood flowing through your arteries that can gradually cause a variety of problems. These changes can affect arteries throughout your body and obstruct blood flow to your heart, kidneys, brain and extremities. The damage can cause chest pain (angina), heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and aneurysms.

� Damage to your heart: Coronary artery disease is a cluster of diseases involving the arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle. You could experience chest pain, a heart attack or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). People with high blood pressure are more likely to die from a heart attack. High blood pressure forces the heart to overexert itself which can result in enlarged left heart, which increases your chances of having a heart attack, heart failure and sudden cardiac death. Heart failure results when uncontrolled blood pressure over time causes your heart muscle to weaken and work less efficiently. Eventually the overwhelmed heart simply wears out and fails.

� Damage to your brain: Transient ischemic attack (TIA) sometimes called ministroke is a brief, temporary obstruction of blood supply to your brain. High blood pressure can cause atherosclerosis or a blood clot which can cause these ministrokes. A transient ischemic attack is often a warning that you are at risk of a full-blown stroke. Stroke occurs when part of your brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke by damaging and weakening your brain�s blood vessels. Dementia is a brain disease resulting in impaired thinking, speaking, reasoning, memory, vision and movement. High blood pressure that occurs as early as middle age can increase the risk of dementia in later years.

� Damage to your kidneys: High blood pressure can injure both the blood vessels in and leading to your kidneys, causing several types of kidney disease. High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney (renal) failure. Glomerulosclerosis is a type of kidney damage caused by scarring of the glomeruli which can leave your kidneys unable to filter waste effectively, ultimately leading to kidney failure. Kidney artery aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. Over time, the excessive pressure of blood coursing through a weakened artery can cause a section to enlarge and form an aneurysm. If the aneurysm ruptures it can cause life-threatening internal bleeding.

� Damage to your eyes: Retinopathy is when damaged blood vessels leak or become blocked. The condition can lead to bleeding in the eye, swelling of the optic nerve, blurred vision and complete loss of vision. Choroidopathy is when fluid accumulates under the retina when there is a leaky blood vessel in the choroids. If this occurs, it can result in vision distortion or in some cases scarring that impairs vision. Optic neuropathy is when blocked blood flow damages the optic nerve. It can lead to the death or dysfunction of optic nerve cells, which can cause bleeding within the eye or vision loss.

Typically high blood pressure is a chronic condition that gradually causes damage over the years. High blood pressure can arise quickly and severely, which requires immediate emergency treatment.

New mounting evidence suggests high blood pressure can also affect other areas of the body leading to problems such as:

� Sexual dysfunction

� Bone loss

� Trouble sleeping

Prevention of high blood pressure does make a difference. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help you manage blood pressure. Reduce your sodium (salt) intake and losing weight can have a dramatic impact on your blood pressure.

If you develop high blood pressure there are many medications to help prevent specific complications such as heart or kidney disease. If you will work closely with your health care team, you can handle your blood pressure and live a healthier life.

Sources: Mayo Clinic on High Blood Pressure, �Second Edition (Softcover), American Heart Association, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

Disclaimer: This article is for information only. It is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. All health problems should be addressed by a professional health care provider.

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

Author: Connie Limon. Please visit our Nutrition and Health Articles at All articles are offered as information, education and FREE reprints to your newsletter, website or blog.

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