Why is high blood pressure so concerning? Because it’s putting stress your heart and your arteries, even if you don’t feel any different.
Effects of high blood pressure
That added stress on your heart can raise your chances for a heart attack or stroke.
Over time, problems in your arteries could cut back on blood flow. And since all of the tissues and organs in your body need blood to work well, that means things like your brain, your kidneys, your eyesight, and your sex life can be affected, too.
By living with healthy habits and taking medication to get or keep your blood pressure down if necessary, you may prevent long-term problems.
It all starts with your arteries. Normally, the vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body have a smooth inner lining. They’re strong and flexible enough to push blood through your body.
High blood pressure changes that. The extra force of the blood can damage the cells on the inside walls of your arteries.
If the pressure doesn’t let up, it can cause tears in the lining so it’s not smooth anymore. That’s where fatty bits, called plaque, get caught and build up.
Blood can’t move as well around these clogs, which can even block arteries. These deposits can also make the walls stiff so it’s harder to move the blood.
This damage can make the artery wall stretch and bulge out like a balloon. The bump is called an aneurysm. It can break open and bleed.
Your heart is a muscle, and it needs blood, too. When its supply lines can’t deliver enough, you could have:
Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia), chest pain (angina) or a heart attack
To push blood through stiff or clogged arteries, your heart has to work harder. An overworked heart can become larger than normal.
Then the walls of the heart muscle lose strength and can’t pump blood well. This could lead to a heart attack or heart failure. The chances are greater if you already have heart problems.
High blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke. When an artery in your brain tears, leaks, or gets clogged, it can stop blood from getting to brain cells.
Depending on what part of your brain loses blood and what it does, you could have problems with language, vision, movement, or anything else your brain controls.
It could be temporary if the blood flow is restored, or the damage may be permanent if the cells die.
A lessened blood supply to the brain can also keep you from thinking clearly and remembering. It can cause a condition called vascular dementia.
One of the most dangerous aspects of hypertension is that you may not know that you have it. In fact, nearly one-third of people who have high blood pressure don’t know it.
The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is through regular checkups. This is especially important if you have a close relative who has high blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is extremely high, there may be certain symptoms to look out for,including:
- Severe headache
- Fatigue or confusion
- Vision problems
- Chest pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blood in the urine
- Pounding in your chest, neck, or ears
If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor immediately. You could be having a hypertensive crisis that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Untreated hypertension can lead to serious diseases, including stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and eye problems.
An increase in blood pressure is common at menopause, often related to weight gain, stress and anxiety.
Progesterone is the hormone that can keep your heart healthy and reduce oestrogen-related weight.
Good levels are needed to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke and these articles can be helpful too.
Blood pressure, Inflammation & Gut Health