If you have ever had a conversation with a doctor about hypertension, chances are that your blood pressure has been high. You may be thinking to yourself, “What’s so bad about that?” In fact, high blood pressure can be detrimental to your health and even cause death. So, what are some of the consequences of constantly having high blood pressure?
What is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is a measure of how strongly the blood is pressing against the walls of blood vessels called artery as it is pumped around the body by the heart.
It is made of two measurements comprising the systolic and diastolic BP. Systolic BP is when the heart is beating and pumping blood. Diastolic BP is when the heart is filling up with blood between beats.
It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as systolic blood pressure over diastolic blood pressure. If the blood pressure is repeatedly measured more than 140 and/or 90 mmhg or above, the person may have high blood pressure. The medical term is hypertension.
Hypertension is a silent disease; the majority of cases in the country remain undiagnosed.
Hypertension places stress on several organs (called target organs), including the kidneys, eyes, and heart, causing them to deteriorate over time.
Untreated or sub-optimally controlled hypertension leads to increased risk of :
1) Cardiovascular disease
High blood pressure is a major risk-factor for hypertensive heart disease, that include:
Coronary Artery Disease. High blood pressure contributes to the thickening of the blood vessel walls, which can cause or worsen atherosclerosis (accumulated deposits of cholesterol in the blood vessels). The end result is coronary artery disease (CAD), also called ischemic heart disease. CAD which increases the risk for angina (chest pain), heart attack, stroke, and death. High blood pressure is the most common risk-factor for heart attack and stroke.
Heart Failure. High blood pressure increases the heart’s workload. These will lead to thickening of heart muscle and finally enlargement of left ventricle. The amount of blood pumped by the heart each minute (cardiac output) goes down. Without treatment, this can lead to heart failure.
Cardiac Arrythmias. High blood pressure increases the risk for cardiac arrhythmias (disturbances and irregularities in heartbeats). Arrhythmias include atrial fibrillation, premature ventricular contractions, and ventricular tachycardia.
2) Cerebrovascular disease
About two-thirds of people who suffer a first stroke have moderate elevated blood pressure that cause thickening of the blood vessel walls. This can cause or worsen atherosclerosis and finally lead to stroke.
Stroke happened as the result of rupture or blockage of the blood vessel in the brain. Hypertension is also an important cause of so-called silent cerebral infarcts, or blockages (mini-strokes) that may predict major stroke or progress to dementia over time.
3) Blood vessels blockage at extremities
Persistent high blood pressure in the presence of common factors such as smoking and diabetes will lead to thickening of the blood vessel walls. The long term consequence of ischaemia in the extremeties is pain over the extremeties and finally may lead to gangrene.
4) Renal disease
High blood pressure causes 30% of all cases of end-stage kidney disease (medically referred to as end-stage renal disease, or ESRD). Diabetes as a co-morbid, factor will lead to more cases of kidney failure.
5) Damage to the blood vessels in the eyes
High blood pressure can injure the blood vessels in the eye’s retina, causing a condition called retinopathy.These may cause bleeding in the eyes that can end-up with blindness. The higher the blood pressure is, the greater your risk of complications.
Risk of complications or rapid progression of hypertension become more likely in the presence of other risk-factors :
Family history of premature heart disease
Coronary artery disease and
Other evidence of vascular disease
How to maintain normal blood pressure?
Practice healthy lifestyle :
Lose weight if you are overweight.
Eat Healthily – Reduce salt in your diet.
Be physically active – Start a regular exercise programme, at least 30 minutes 5 times a week.
Do not smoke – Stop, if your are smoking.
Learn to handle stress.
Source - https://www.nhs.uk
Note: Consult your doctor or other healthcare provider for specific advice
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