Hypertension, or enduring high blood pressure, is a condition that can quietly cause damage across the body. That’s why it’s crucial to have your blood pressure checked regularly: to catch high blood pressure before it does serious damage.
Many people are unaware that they have hypertension, although it contributes to more than 9 million worldwide deaths each year, 54% of strokes, and 47% of coronary heart disease cases. The symptoms aren’t always noticeable, which it why it’s sometimes called “the silent killer.”
Let’s take a closer look at how, left untreated, hypertension can harm your body. Here are its primary threats to your health.
Angina is pain or discomfort in the chest that comes from an oxygen-depleted heart muscle. People sometimes feel angina as pain in the arms, neck, shoulders, jaw, or back, so they may not realize it’s related to hypertension. Angina is an underlying symptom of coronary heart disease.
Over time, high blood pressure can harm your arteries, creating blockages and decreased blood flow. This weakens the tissues of the heart, creating a higher risk of heart attack.
As hypertension weakens the heart tissues, the high pressure of blood flow can also cause the heart to enlarge. This sets the stage for heart failure, as the enlarged heart struggles to supply blood to the body.
Although hypertension is usually associated with heart trouble, it can also affect many other organs. Increased blood pressure puts stress on the arteries around the kidneys, interfering with their ability to filter blood efficiently. This can lead to kidney disease or failure.
Hypertension can cause blood vessels in the brain to clog, strain, and burst more easily. When this happens, it’s called a stroke. Strokes are the number five cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of disability.
Are you surprised to see this one on the list? Many people are unaware that high blood pressure is associated with vision problems. The pressure of blood flow can strain and damage blood vessels in your eyes. This is why eye doctors are sometimes the first doctors to suspect hypertension.
Peripheral Artery Disease
Artherosclerosis, or peripheral artery disease, occurs when high blood pressure causes arteries in the limbs to narrow. It can happen all around the periphery of the body, but primarily in the arms, legs, and head.
Hypertension is also a contributor to reproductive system issues and sexual dysfunction: lower libido in women and erectile dysfunction in men.
A Proactive Approach to Hypertension
If you’re unsure whether you have hypertension, schedule an appointment with your doctor. High blood pressure can be hard to detect. Don’t assume that just because you feel file, you are immune to “the silent killer.”For more information, consult with the experts at Johnson Memorial Health.