Hypertension occurs when blood pressure is chronically elevated. Temporary bouts of high blood pressure that occur once in awhile are usually not a problem, but over time, hypertension can damage the body. In extreme cases, chronic hypertension causes disabilities, organ damage, and heart attacks. It is possible to get hypertension under control, but it takes lifestyle changes.
In my experience, when people understand exactly what damage is being done to their bodies because of hypertension they are more motivated to make healthy changes.
Because the heart plays such an integral role in pumping blood through your body, issues with blood pressure will have a significant effect on heart health. How does hypertension affect your heart?
It can cause coronary artery disease, which prevents blood from flowing freely to the heart. This causes chest pains, heart arrhythmias, and heart attacks.
It can cause the left side of the heart to become enlarged because the left ventricle thickens and stiffens from all the work it must do to pump blood to the body. Enlarged left heart increases your risk for heart failure, heart attacks, and sudden cardiac death.
Hypertension can cause heart failure because the strain it places on the heart causes it to work inefficiently and weaken. Over time, the heart simply wears out.
The arteries that serve as the pathways for transporting blood through the body are supposed to be elastic and strong. Blood can flow freely through these smooth tunnels without any problems, but hypertension causes arteries to change. They become narrow and less pliable, which causes the artery to weaken. Over time, aneurysms can develop and cause internal bleeding. An aneurism can form in any artery in the body and can be fatal.
Your brain relies on blood to help it work properly and hypertension interferes with the supply reaching your brain. If an adequate supply of blood is not able to reach your brain, it can cause:
• Transient ischemic attack (a mini stroke)
• Cognitive impair ranging from mild to severe
Your kidneys are responsible for flushing waste and fluid from your blood and if the blood vessels in your body are not healthy, you can develop kidney disease. This includes a variety of different issues, including kidney scarring and kidney failure. The blood vessels leading to your kidneys might also develop an aneurysm.
Some people are surprised to realize hypertension can affect their vision. This is because the eyes are filled with tiny blood vessels. Like the other blood vessels in the body, those in the eyes are also affected by hypertension. Over time, it can lead to retinopathy, choroidopathy, and nerve damage.
Reduced Quality of Life
In general, hypertension affects your quality of life. It can cause erectile dysfunction, bone loss, and trouble sleeping. People with hypertension often snore and suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation also tends to aggravate hypertension, so the two create a cycle of poor living and health risks.
The damage hypertension can do to your body is scary, but I believe understanding long-term risks associated with poor health choices is essential for people to really commit to lifestyle changes. It is possible to lower blood pressure and stop the damage occurring in your body because of hypertension.
I encourage anyone suffering from hypertension to peruse our site for more information about adopting a healthy diet, making fitness a priority, and making other heart healthy lifestyle changes. It is also important to speak with your doctor before making changes, especially if you are in poor health.