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Understanding How Uncontrolled Hypertension Affects Your Body

 Understanding How Uncontrolled Hypertension Affects Your Body

Hypertension is on the rise and, when left uncontrolled, can have devastating consequences on your body over time. Today, more than 110 million adults in the United States have hypertension, and many don’t have their high blood pressure under control.

May is Hypertension Awareness Month, and the team at CA Heart and Vein Specialists is taking advantage of this opportunity to focus on the often-underestimated impact of uncontrolled hypertension. Without appropriate intervention, uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure is a major medical concern that can lead to long-term health complications. 

The silent killer

There’s a reason hypertension is frequently labeled a "silent killer." It can damage your body for years without causing any noticeable symptoms. This means that your organs and systems are at high risk of damage the longer your hypertension is out of control. 

Many people are unaware they have high blood pressure until they start developing health complications. Regular blood pressure checks are crucial for detecting hypertension at its earliest stages, when it’s easier to control.

Cardiovascular damage

One of the most severe effects of uncontrolled hypertension is on your heart and blood vessels. Healthy blood vessels are soft and flexible, which enables blood to flow smoothly and effortlessly. High blood pressure can cause the arteries to gradually stiffen and thicken over time, a condition known as atherosclerosis

This change reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to vital organs, increasing your risk of heart disease. Hypertension also puts a strain on the heart, leading to hypertrophy (thickening of the heart muscle), which can result in a decreased ability to pump blood effectively and a greater risk of heart failure.

Brain health

The effects of hypertension on the brain are also concerning. Persistent high blood pressure is a leading risk factor for stroke. It can cause blood vessels in the brain to tear, rupture or clog more easily, which blocks the flow of oxygen and nutrients. 

Additionally, hypertension is linked to cognitive impairment and dementia due to narrowed or blocked arteries limiting blood flow to the brain.

Kidney damage

The kidneys, responsible for filtering excess fluid and waste from your blood, are another critical organ that hypertension affects. High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in your kidneys, impairing their ability to function effectively. In fact, hypertension is the most common cause of kidney failure. 

Eye health

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage delicate blood vessels in the retina, leading to hypertensive retinopathy. This condition can result in blurred vision or even blindness if left untreated.

Managing your hypertension

The first step in managing high blood pressure is awareness. Routine blood pressure checks are necessary, especially if you’re at risk. Lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a health-healthy diet low in salt and rich in fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and limiting alcohol intake can significantly cut blood pressure levels.

For individuals already diagnosed with hypertension, it’s essential to work closely with a health care provider and take medications as prescribed to keep blood pressure well-controlled. Blood pressure medications, along with lifestyle changes, can help manage hypertension and reduce the risk of complications.

Uncontrolled hypertension poses a major threat to overall health. This month, take a proactive step and contact CA Heart and Vein Specialists for a blood pressure check. Your body will thank you!

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