5 Complications of High Blood Pressure

5 Complications of High Blood Pressure

Unlike many other chronic diseases, chronic high blood pressure (hypertension) typically develops without causing any noticeable signs or symptoms. This means you can have hypertension for years without knowing it or receiving treatment.    

At Integrative Primary Care in Houston, our team is committed to helping patients live the healthiest lives possible. To help you take charge of your heart health, Syed Farhat Zaidi, MD, and Saba Jafri, MD, explain what high blood pressure is, what its complications are, and how it can be treated. 

Understanding high blood pressure

Your blood pressure reading consists of two numbers. The first number is your systolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure in your arteries during a heartbeat. The second number is your diastolic blood pressure, which measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats.

The stages from normal blood pressure to Stage 2 blood pressure are as follows:

Hypertension is such a serious threat to your health that the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recently lowered the threshold for when you should begin to take action in managing your numbers. 

Prior to 2017, your provider may not have recommended treatment until Stage 2. The new guidelines recommend taking action if you’re diagnosed with Stage 1 hypertension to help prevent the serious complications associated with this health condition. 

Complications of chronic high blood pressure

Chronic high blood pressure is a major risk factor for many serious health conditions. Here’s a look at five of the most common complications of hypertension:

1. Higher risk of stroke and aneurysm

Having high blood pressure increases your risk of having a stroke, because it can cause clots to form in the blood vessels that take blood to your brain. If a blockage occurs or if a blood vessel bursts, you can have a stroke.  

Likewise, hypertension can create weak areas in the walls of your arteries. These weak spots can fill with blood and balloon out, forming an aneurysm. Furthermore, an aneurysm can burst and lead to a stroke. 

2. Increased risk of heart attack

High blood pressure causes blood to move through the body with increased force. This added pressure can tear your blood vessels. And, the scar tissue that forms during repair of these tears can catch debris in your blood, especially lipids and cholesterol. 

These trapped substances can build and make it more difficult for blood to travel throughout your body. When the blood supply to your heart is hindered, you can have a heart attack.    

3. Higher risk of heart failure 

High blood pressure can make your heart become enlarged, which can make it harder for your heart to pump blood. This can lead to heart failure, which is when the heart can’t provide enough blood to the rest of the body.   

4. Increased risk of kidney disease

Kidney failure occurs when the blood vessels in the organs are too weak and narrow to function. High blood pressure is the second leading cause of this condition, which makes it difficult or impossible for the kidneys to remove fluid and waste. 

Furthermore, if your kidneys don’t function optimally, it can increase your blood pressure, which can create a cycle of kidney damage and high blood pressure.  

5. Greater chances of having vision problems

Your vision is fueled by the tiny blood vessels that feed blood to your eyes. High blood pressure can reduce this blood flow and even cause these delicate vessels to burst. The result is a condition called hypertensive retinopathy, which may lead to bleeding in your eyes, blurry vision, and even blindness. 

Chronic high blood pressure can also cause vision loss by leading to a build-up of fluid in your eyes, which can damage the optic nerve and distort your vision. If you notice vision changes, be sure to discuss them with your provider at Integrative Primary Care.  

Get help for your high blood pressure 

At Integrative Primary Care, instead of using a one-method approach, our providers specialize in managing chronic high blood pressure by using an integrated and holistic approach. While every patient’s treatment plan is customized to meet their unique needs, your treatment may include:

Your provider will monitor your blood pressure and overall health and work with you to modify or change your hypertension treatment plan as your needs change. 

If you have high blood pressure or want to see if you do, book an appointment online or over the phone with Integrative Primary Care today.

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