What You Risk If You Ignore Your High Blood Pressure

Hypertension if left untreated

Health professionals don’t call high blood pressure the “silent killer” for no reason. Yes, high blood pressure (hypertension) is asymptomatic in most cases, but it’s far from benign. Having high blood pressure — even when only slightly elevated — increases your risk of chronic disease exponentially. 

If left untreated, high blood pressure causes your arteries to slowly, silently narrow and become damaged until they become so beat up that your heart works so hard it reaches failure. Thankfully, hypertension is one of the easiest chronic conditions to treat with lifestyle interventions like diet and exercise, especially in young people. There are also a number of medications to help keep blood pressure under control if lifestyle prescriptions don’t cut it. 

Here, our team of physicians and nurses at Advance Medical Group in New Jersey outline the dangers of untreated high blood pressure, as well as how they can successfully treat it. 

6 major risks of ignoring high blood pressure

This list of hypertension risks isn’t exhaustive (there are many more comorbidities to high blood pressure) — they are, however, possibilities to be taken seriously. 

1. Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) involves the narrowing and damaging of your arteries that deliver blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your heart. High blood pressure can damage your coronary arteries, which can makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood through them. Over time, the damage may lead to chest pain, irregular heartbeats, or a heart attack. 

2. Aneurysm

An aneurysm occurs when a bulge forms in a weakened artery. It develops when the constant pressure of blood flowing through the weak or damaged artery becomes too much. Usually, high blood pressure leads to an aortic aneurysm versus a brain aneurysm. If an aneurysm ruptures, you may suffer life-threatening internal bleeding. 

Read more  Targeting transforming growth factor-β receptors in pulmonary hypertension

3. Heart failure

This one’s pretty self-explanatory: Heart failure means your heart stops working. With high blood pressure, your heart works harder than it normally would have to, and over time, it becomes less efficient and begins to fail. 

4. Kidney failure

Your kidneys filter out waste from your blood and excess fluid from your body (this comes out of your body as urine). Your kidneys are also largely responsible for balancing the electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium, in your body. If high blood pressure damages the blood vessels of your kidneys, waste and fluid accumulate in your body — if it gets bad enough, you may need a lifetime of dialysis or a kidney transplant.  

5. Stroke

People suffer strokes when a portion of their brain becomes deprived of oxygen and nutrients. High blood pressure can potentially cause a stroke if blood vessels in the brain become too weak or rupture, or if blood clots form in brain blood vessels. 

6. Dementia

Similar to stroke, high blood pressure may lead to dementia if there is a lack of blood delivered to the brain. This type of dementia — vascular dementia — has different symptoms depending on what part of your brain was deprived of blood, but typical symptoms include loss of memory, confusion, reduced ability to solve problems, and more. 

Get checked for high blood pressure

You should get your blood pressure monitored at least once a year by your primary care provider, but preferably more if any of the following apply to you: 

  • You are overweight or obese
  • You have type 2 diabetes
  • You have sleep apnea
  • You are not physically active and/or don’t eat a healthy diet
  • You have a history of high stress levels
  • Your family has a history of high blood pressure 

Scheduling a regular adult wellness exam helps you and our team be proactive rather than reactive, and opens the floor for catching any diagnoses, including hypertension, early — and early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment. 

If you do get diagnosed with high blood pressure, our team works with you on a treatment plan to get it under control. Your doctor may prescribe lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, exercise regimen, stress-relief tactics, and more. If your blood pressure is already very high, you may need a temporary prescription for medication. 

Read more  Effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug therapy on blood pressure and peripheral edema

If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked in a while, come on over to Advance Medical Group in New Jersey. Find the location nearest you and give us a call or book your appointment online. 


— Update: 31-12-2022 — cohaitungchi.com found an additional article Problems That Can Develop if Hypertension Is Left Untreated from the website www.bestcardiac.com for the keyword hypertension if left untreated.

Hypertension if left untreated

Commonly referred to as high blood pressure, hypertension is a serious medical condition that can affect not only your circulatory health, but also the health of your other organ systems. 

Hypertension was the primary or contributing cause of death for almost 500,000 Americans in 2018, and only 24% of those currently living with it have it under control. 

At Advanced Cardiac Care, board-certified cardiologist Michael Avaricio, MD, and our staff at our Ozone Park, Queens, New York, office understand how insidious this killer can be. It almost never causes symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. 

That’s why we offer preventive blood pressure screening and customized cardiac treatment for our patients. Here’s what you need to know about what happens when your hypertension is left untreated.

Measuring blood pressure

When a doctor or nurse takes your blood pressure, they’re measuring the force of the blood flow against your artery walls. Arteries are the tubes filled with oxygenated blood that lead from your heart to your body’s tissues, where they deliver the oxygen and other important nutrients.

A blood pressure reading generates two numbers, reported as one number over the other number. 

The top number, called the systolic pressure, measures the pressure against the walls when the heart actively beats. The bottom number, called the diastolic pressure, measures the pressure against the walls when the heart rests between beats. 

In a healthy adult, a normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80.

Read more  Types of Headaches, Location Chart, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

If the readings fall above these numbers, it means your heart has to work harder to pump blood. This is called high blood pressure or hypertension. High pressure can not only damage the blood vessels (arteries and veins), but it can also damage your eyes, kidneys, and even your brain.

Types of hypertension

Hypertension comes in two different types:

Primary hypertension

Primary, also known as essential, hypertension generally develops gradually, and in most cases, there’s no identifiable cause for the elevation in pressure. 

Secondary hypertension

Secondary hypertension results from an underlying condition or substance, such as:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid problems
  • Adrenal tumors
  • Certain medications and illicit drugs

This form often appears suddenly and causes higher readings than those of primary hypertension.

Problems that can develop if hypertension is left untreated

Your arteries, veins, and tissues are built to withstand a certain amount of force from blood flow. When the pressure exceeds those amounts, especially if it remains high over a long period of time (becomes chronic), it can damage the artery walls. 

In doing so, it creates rough patches where cholesterol, fats, protein, and calcium build up, forming a sticky plaque that eventually hardens and narrows the blood vessels, a condition called atherosclerosis. 

Because the vessels are narrowed, the heart has to pump even harder to push the blood through.

Atherosclerosis can lead to life-threatening problems, including:

  • Chronic heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs)
  • Stroke (clot in brain)
  • Chronic kidney disease and kidney failure

If pressure remains high in the venous part of the circulatory system, it can lead to a number of vein problems, including chronic venous insufficiency (sluggish blood flow and pooling), spider and varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, leg edema (swelling), and venous ulcers, slow-healing open sores.

High blood pressure doesn’t announce itself, so if you don’t know your blood pressure range, it’s time you come into Advanced Cardiac Care for a screening. Call our office at 718-737-9132, or book your appointment online with us today.

References

Recommended For You

About the Author: Tung Chi