Long-term effects of untreated high blood pressure

Credit: Unsplash+

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition where the force of blood against the walls of your arteries is consistently too high. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to serious health problems over time.

Understanding these long-term effects can help highlight the importance of managing and treating high blood pressure.

One of the most serious long-term effects of untreated high blood pressure is heart disease. High blood pressure puts extra strain on your heart, making it work harder to pump blood. Over time, this can cause the heart muscle to thicken and stiffen, a condition known as left ventricular hypertrophy.

This makes it harder for the heart to pump blood efficiently, increasing the risk of heart failure. Research shows that people with untreated hypertension are much more likely to develop heart disease and heart failure than those who manage their blood pressure effectively.

Another major risk is stroke. Hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels in your brain, leading to a higher risk of both ischemic strokes (caused by blood clots) and hemorrhagic strokes (caused by bleeding in the brain).

Studies have found that high blood pressure is a leading cause of stroke, and managing it can significantly reduce this risk. Even slightly elevated blood pressure levels can increase the risk of stroke, making it crucial to keep blood pressure under control.

Kidney damage is another serious consequence of untreated high blood pressure. The kidneys filter waste and excess fluids from your blood, and this process relies on healthy blood vessels. Hypertension can damage these vessels, reducing the kidneys’ ability to function properly.

Over time, this can lead to chronic kidney disease or even kidney failure, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant. Research indicates that high blood pressure is a leading cause of kidney disease, and controlling blood pressure can help protect kidney health.

High blood pressure can also cause damage to your eyes. The small blood vessels in the eyes can be harmed by the increased pressure, leading to a condition known as hypertensive retinopathy.

This can cause vision problems and even blindness if left untreated. Regular eye exams can help detect early signs of damage, and managing blood pressure can help prevent these complications.

Another long-term effect of untreated hypertension is damage to the arteries. High blood pressure can cause the walls of the arteries to become thick and stiff, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

This makes it harder for blood to flow through the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. Studies have shown that people with high blood pressure are at a much higher risk of developing atherosclerosis and related complications.

In addition to physical health problems, untreated hypertension can also affect your mental health. Research suggests that high blood pressure can increase the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

The exact reasons are still being studied, but it is believed that the damage to blood vessels and reduced blood flow to the brain play a role. Managing blood pressure can help protect brain health and reduce the risk of these conditions.

Sexual dysfunction is another potential long-term effect of untreated high blood pressure. In men, hypertension can lead to erectile dysfunction by reducing blood flow to the penis. In women, it can cause decreased sexual desire and arousal.

These problems can have a significant impact on quality of life, and managing blood pressure can help reduce the risk of sexual dysfunction.

Overall, the long-term effects of untreated high blood pressure are serious and wide-ranging. From heart disease and stroke to kidney damage and vision problems, the risks are significant. Fortunately, hypertension can often be managed through lifestyle changes and medication.

Regular physical activity, a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking can all help lower blood pressure. In some cases, medication may also be necessary to keep blood pressure under control.

By understanding the risks and taking steps to manage blood pressure, you can protect your health and reduce the likelihood of these serious complications.

Regular check-ups with your doctor, monitoring your blood pressure at home, and making healthy lifestyle choices are all important parts of managing hypertension and maintaining good health.

If you care about high blood pressure, please read studies about potatoes and high blood pressure, and top 10 choices for a blood pressure-friendly diet.

For more information about high blood pressure, please see recent studies about impact of vitamins on high blood pressure you need to know, and the powerful link between high blood pressure and a potassium-rich diet.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.