Hypertension, perhaps better known as ‘high blood pressure’ is one of the most common and dangerous health conditions in the entire world. The Main reason why hypertension is considered so dangerous and life threatening, is the fact that it can lead to a number of other very serious, potentially fatal health conditions. There are a number of causes of hypertension, though the main deciding factors include:
To help get a better understanding about just how serious hypertension can be, here’s a look at 10 of the most common complications associated with high blood pressure.
Atherosclerosis – Perhaps better known as artery disease, atherosclerosis is a very common side effect of hypertension, resulting in damage to the walls and lining of the arteries which in turn causes them to harden. The increase in blood pressure can wear away at the lining of the arteries, making them weaker and more vulnerable. This can eventually lead to the arteries becoming hardened, resulting in blocked blood flow to the other vital organs in the body.
Stroke – Stokes are caused when a certain part of the brain becomes deprived of nutrients and oxygen, which then leads to the death of previously healthy brain cells. Hypertension can lead to strokes as it weakens blood vessels in the brain, eventually resulting in them narrowing, weakening, or even rupturing altogether. Another reasons why strokes can be caused by hypertension is the fact that it can lead to the formation of blood clots in arteries leading to the brain, meaning that the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen or nutrients.
Heart disease – Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease is another very common side effect of hypertension. As the heart is responsible for pumping blood all around the body, high blood pressure can lead to a number of irregularities. Hypertension results in a lack of blood being transported to the heart, which can lead to irregular heartbeats, chest pains, or even a heart attack. Enlargement of the left side of the heart is another common side effect of hypertension, due to the fact that the left ventricle in the heart can become stiff and thickened, affecting the heart’s ability to pump blood and therefore causing it to become enlarged.
Eye disease – The eyes are also commonly affected as a result of hypertension mainly because tiny blood vessels in the eyes can become damaged. This can lead to retinopathy, which is a condition which can cause blurred vision, bleeding in the eye, or even complete loss of vision. Nerves in the eye are also damaged due to hypertension, particularly the optic nerve.
Kidney disease – The kidneys act as filters for our blood, filtering out impurities to keep it as healthy as possible. With hypertension however, as the blood flows much faster through the kidneys, and in much larger volumes, this can force them to work twice as hard and can result in them becoming worn down. Over time, it can even result in full kidney failure, resulting in them shutting down completely.
Diabetes – Although hypertension doesn’t cause diabetes, it can greatly exasperate the side effects associated with diabetes. For example, diabetes already damages the arteries, weakening them and putting them for at risk. When you factor in hypertension as well, the already weakened arteries simply cannot cope, resulting in hardening of the arteries. Diabetics also suffer from poor circulation, which is another side effect associated with hypertension.
Pre-eclampsia – Pre-eclampsia is a condition associated with pregnancy, which is caused when the placenta doesn’t function correctly. It results in blood flowing through the placenta to be greatly reduced, which can mean that both mother, and baby won’t be receiving enough nutrients and oxygen. One of the main precursors associated with this condition, is hypertension. Mothers suffering with, or who previously suffered with hypertension before, or during pregnancy are much more likely to suffer from pre-eclampsia.
Metabolic syndrome – Metabolic syndrome isn’t actually one single syndrome at all, but rather a variety of different physiological irregularities at once. Basically it is a combination of hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. This means that sufferers of the condition will be at a much greater risk of suffering a heart attack, a stroke, or a number of other conditions which affect the blood vessels. Hypertension, as you know, already damages the blood vessels, and can act as a precursor for metabolic syndrome in the near future.
Erectile dysfunction – When men become aroused, blood rushes to erectile tissue in the genitals, causing them to have an erection. Hypertension however, can result in erectile dysfunction, making it extremely difficult for men to achieve, and maintain, an erection. This is because overtime, the arteries leading to the genitals can become damaged, which greatly reduces blood flow. As blood flow is reduced, less will be able to rush into the erectile tissue, meaning an erection will be far less likely.
Damaged bones – Hypertension often leads to an increase of calcium being excreted from the body via urine. Our bones require substantial amounts of calcium in order to maintain their health and density, so the more calcium we excrete, the less we will have in our bones. This can lead to weakened bones and can eventually result in osteoporosis.