Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a condition that affects every single part of the human body. Every organ and bodily system depends on oxygen-rich blood to serve its function. If blood can’t get through, the body suffers and dangerous problems can quickly occur.
Take a look at this list of just a few of the effects high blood pressure can have on the rest of the body.
Arteries serve as the vessels that carry blood away from the heart and out to the organs. To do this important job efficiently, the arteries need to be flexible and elastic, with a smooth inner lining. In a patient with high blood pressure, the arteries are slowly damaged from the inside out. The arteries become narrow and hard, which makes it difficult for the blood to flow and increases the likelihood of blood clots. The pressure may even cause microscopic tears in the arterial lining.
High blood pressure is especially hard on the heart. Heart attacks and congestive heart failure are two very serious conditions that can result from years of high blood pressure.
Just like other arteries in the body, high blood pressure makes the coronary arteries more susceptible to dangerous blood clots. A blood clot in the heart can cut off oxygen supply to part of the heart muscle and actually kill that tissue. This is when a heart attack occurs.
Congestive heart failure is a term used for a heart that can no longer supply enough blood to the body. This is because of damaged arteries and the extra strain placed on the heart. The heart may try to compensate by becoming larger, but it still cannot function efficiently.
Over time, the high blood pressure wreaks havoc on the blood vessels of the brain. This leads to blood clots that cut off the brain’s blood supply. High blood pressure puts patients at an increased risk of stroke, dementia, and other cognitive issues.
The blood vessels of the eyes can become severely damaged if high blood pressure goes untreated. These vessels may start to bleed or burst open. The pressure may also damage the optic nerve, causing blurry vision or blindness.
To excrete waste and extra fluid, the body relies on vessels to transport blood to the kidneys where it can be filtered and sent back to the heart. When the vessels supplying the kidneys are damaged, the kidneys cannot clean out the waste or the fluid. The leftover waste can be very dangerous and the extra fluid can raise blood pressure even more.
Please visit our Hypertension Home Page for more information on how to control your blood pressure.
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