Everyone knows that it is good for your health to keep your blood pressure under control, but what you may not know is that high blood pressure can cause up to ten dangerous health problems that can sometimes be fatal. High blood pressure is usually a silent problem, and symptoms tend to develop only when your body is already damaged by years of hypertension. As a result, it is extremely important to get your blood pressure measured at regular intervals. Read on to learn about the most dangerous and frightening complications that undiagnosed or uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause.
1) It damages arteries all over your body:
High blood pressure gradually leads to arteriosclerosis, which is a thickening of the artery walls. This kind of damage leads to reduced blood flow to the kidneys, brain, heart, and limbs. As a result, you are at a higher risk of suffering from a heart attack, unwanted blood clots in the legs, eye problems, and strokes.
2) It makes you more likely to develop dementia:
There is a type of dementia that occurs when the blood vessels in the brain become narrow or blocked. This is called vascular dementia, and it typically causes confusion, memory problems, trouble with reasoning and other forms of cognitive impairment. Studies show that people who are middle-aged and suffer from high blood pressure are substantially increasing their risk of developing dementia in later life.
3) It can lead to kidney failure:
Having undiagnosed or untreated high blood pressure is one of the most common reasons why kidney failure develops. This is because high blood pressure causes damage to the small blood vessels inside the kidneys and to the arteries that supply your kidneys with blood. When your kidneys do not receive enough blood, they are unable to remove the right amount of waste from your body, and you can end up with fluid retention and a buildup of dangerous waste as a result. Kidney failure often leads to kidney transplants or to lifelong dialysis treatments.
4) It can enlarge your heart:
When you have high blood pressure, your heart is under pressure to work harder in order to make sure that your entire body gets enough blood. After this has been going on for a while, the left chamber of your heart gradually starts to become thick and enlarged. When this happens, your heart has a reduced ability to pump blood, increasing your risk of suffering from a heart attack or going into heart failure.
5) It can damage your eyesight:
The small blood vessels of your eyes are susceptible to damage by high blood pressure, and this can lead to a condition called retinopathy. Retinopathy involves blurred vision, loss of sight, and bleeding in the eye. Sometimes, high blood pressure also leads to fluid accumulating under your retina when one of your blood vessels begins to leak. This can also lead to a loss of eyesight or to blurred vision.
6) It can cause an aneurysm:
When your blood pressure is high for a long time and certain arteries have weakened, parts of the walls of these arteries are susceptible to enlarging. This forms a bulge called an aneurysm, which will cause huge amounts of internal bleeding if it ruptures. Such rupturing is often fatal, especially in its most common location (the aorta, which is the largest artery in the human body). High blood pressure is also often linked to dangerous aneurysms in the arteries that supply your kidneys with blood.
7) It promotes bone loss:
When you have high blood pressure, you often excrete more calcium in your urine, and when this amount is too great then you can start to develop osteoporosis (i.e. a loss of bone density). This puts you at a much higher risk of suffering a fracture (or multiple fractures) if you are injured.
8) It can cause strokes:
High blood pressure is associated with an increased risk of blood clots in the blood vessels of the brain, which can entirely block blood flow and cause a stroke.
9) It can cause heart failure:
Heart failure develops when your heart weakens after it has had to work too hard for a long period of time. When you go into heart failure, you can experience wheezing and shortness of breath (even when at rest), and fluid may start to collect in your longs.
10. It can cause nerve damage in the eyes:
When high blood pressure causes blood vessel damage that blocks blood flow to the optic nerve, you can develop optic neuropathy. This condition involves bleeding in your eyes, pain, and a loss of vision.
As is obvious from the above health problems, it is extremely important to have high blood pressure diagnosed and treated. You should have your blood pressure checked at least once every five years, but as you get older it is recommended that you increase this to once every couple of years. If you are not on medication for high blood pressure but consistently get results that are on the high side of normal, it is a good idea to be retested every year (as you are likely to need medication at some point).