Complications of Hypertension
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease that can lead to other chronic diseases and quietly damage your body for years before symptoms appear. When high blood pressure goes unnoticed or untreated for a long time, then the excessively high blood pressure on your artery walls can damage blood vessels, organs and cause even greater damage. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to complications of hypertension such as-
Healthy arteries are flexible, strong, and have a smooth inner lining so that blood can flow freely, and feed vital organs and tissues with oxygen and other nutrients.
Hypertension gradually increases the pressure of blood in your arteries and can attack the cells of the inner lining.
When there is excessive fat in your body, it enters your bloodstream and may get accumulated in the damaged arteries. Eventually, your arteries get hard and thick, which limits the blood flow throughout your body.
The constant pressure of blood moving through a weakened artery can cause a part of its wall to enlarge and form a bulge. This bulging is called an aneurysm, and it can cause life-threatening internal bleeding.
Hypertension can cause many problems in your heart. It can give birth to coronary artery disease, or in which arteries get narrowed and have trouble supplying blood to your heart. When the heart itself is not fed properly, you can have chest pain(angina), irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias. It can also lead to stroke, heart attack, and other complications.
Hypertension can also force your heart to work harder to pump blood. This might cause part of your heart to thicken, and a thickened ventricle increases your risk of heart attack, heart failure, and even sudden cardiac death.
Your brain’s functions depend on the blood supply to work properly. But high blood pressure can cause several problems.
It can cause a stroke by depriving a part of your brain of oxygen and nutrients. Blood vessels damaged by high blood pressure can narrow, or bleed. Hypertension can also form a blood clot in the arteries leading to the brain. When blood flow is blocked to the brain it may even cause a stroke.
Dementia is a term for loss of memory, language, and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with the quality of life.
Blocked or narrowed arteries can interrupt the blood flow to the brain, which can lead to a certain type of dementia. Or if a person suffers from a stroke, then restricted blood flow to the brain can also cause dementia.
High blood pressure can damage the tiny, delicate blood vessels that supply blood to your eyes. Hypertension may damage your retina which is the back part of your eye and may lead to retinopathy. In retinopathy, bleeding in the eye, blurred vision, or complete vision loss may happen. And if you have high blood sugar then there is a higher chance of getting retinopathy.
The kidney plays an important role in removing toxins from your blood by filtering fluids and waste from your blood. This process is required for healthy blood vessels. Hypertension may damage the blood vessels inside the kidney which interrupts the filtering of fluids and vessels. If the damaged blood vessels prevent the kidney from effectively filtering out waste and allowing them to accumulate inside the body. Then you may need dialysis or kidney transplantation. Having diabetes in addition to high blood pressure can worsen the damage.
Both men and women may experience sexual dysfunction if they have high blood pressure. In men, the inability to have and maintain an erection commonly known as erectile dysfunction becomes common as they reach age 50. But men with hypertension are even more likely to experience it because of blocked blood flow to their penis.
Women can also experience sexual dysfunction because of high blood pressure. Reduced blood flow to the vagina can lead to vaginal dryness and a decrease in arousal.
Problems During Pregnancy
Sometimes high blood pressure is present before pregnancy, and sometimes high blood pressure develops after 4 months of pregnancy. High blood pressure during pregnancy may cause various risks, including placental abruption, slowed growth of the baby, injury to other organs like lungs, heart, kidney, and other major organs, which can be life-threatening to you and your baby.
You may also have to deliver a premature baby to prevent such life-threatening conditions. If you have high blood pressure during pregnancy, you need to stay in touch with a doctor who will handle your pregnancy.
High blood pressure usually develops over the years but sometimes blood pressure rises quickly and becomes a medical emergency. It requires immediate treatment mostly with hospitalization. If you experience the following symptoms, you need to run to a hospital.
In these situations, you may experience memory loss, personality change, lack of focus, stroke, severe pain in the chest, heart attack, blindness, etc.
All of these complications should be addressed quickly to the doctors, so the treatment can begin as soon as possible. It is important to check the blood pressure constantly to prevent the complications of hypertension. Also, keep in mind that most of these complications are not that common and can be prevented by following proper treatment.