The Causes and Dangers of High Blood Pressure

The Causes and Dangers of High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when blood pushes forcefully against the walls of the blood vessels as they transport blood throughout the entire body. Your doctor monitors you blood pressure by taking a systolic and diastolic reading. Patients are considered at risk if the systolic and diastolic ranges are above the normal 120/80 range.

Hypertension can become dangerous to health when these readings are too high and place stress on the heart to pump blood. For instance, elevated blood pressures range from 120 to 129/lower than 80, while patients with stage 1 (130 to 139/80 to 89) and stage 2 (140+/90+) hypertension are considered in a dangerous range. Patients in what’s known as “hypertension crisis” have blood pressure readings 180+/120+ and should see a medical expert immediately. The major contributors (or causes) behind hypertension are as follows:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Excess weight or obesity
  • Excess salty or alcoholic diet
  • Too much stress
  • Family history of hypertension or kidney disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • Thyroid and/or adrenal diseases
  • Smoking

If left untreated, long-term high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease, atherosclerosis (hardened arteries), heart attack, heart failure, and stroke, and impair health in the following ways:

1. Osteoporosis

High blood pressure can have a lasting effect on bone health. For instance, the force at which your blood pumps throughout the body can lead to excess calcium excreted via the urine…and cause bone density to deteriorate, leading to risks of bone fractures and osteoporosis, particularly in older women.

2. Kidney damage

Hypertension over time can lead to blood vessel damage, especially those blood vessels (glomeruli) transporting blood to the kidneys. If blood flow is too high, it can impair the elimination of fluid and waste by the kidneys, causing the development of nephropathy (or kidney disease) and kidney failure.

3. Vision loss

Lesser known effects of hypertension is the impact on your visual health. After all, every blood vessel in your body is affected by high blood pressure, including those to your eyes. If blood transport is impaired, retinopathy (or eye blood vessels) can affect vision in the retina, causing blurriness, bleeding in the eye, fluid build up (choroidopathy), and optic nerve damage (optic neuropathy).

4. Arterial damage

Damage to the body’s wide network of arteries can also occur due to excess pressure blood flow within the inner artery walls. As arteries suffer damage and become decreasingly elastic, several conditions can occur, including:

  • Arrhythmias, which occur when blood flow to the heart is impaired.
  • Coronary artery disease, which occur with narrowing arteries and impaired blood flow to the heart.  blood to your heart muscle.
  • Aneurysm, caused by pressure in a weakened artery, which can prompt a bulging or ruptured aneurysm.
  • Ventricular hypertrophy, or enlarged left heart, can occur with damage to the left ventricle, and raises the risk of heart attack.
  • Heart failure, which is caused by long-term stress on the heart.
  • Transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is also known as a brief mini stroke that occurs when blood supply is disrupted in the brain.
  • Stroke, which results with deprived oxygen and nutrients to the brain.  

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