Brief high blood pressure spikes aren’t usually anything to get too concerned over, but if your blood pressure remains high for a long time, you may experience some adverse side effects.
Certain resulting issues from ongoing elevated blood pressure can be easily managed. However, other life-threatening issues can also develop.
Learn about the different health conditions that can occur if high blood pressure causes go untreated for too long.
High Blood Pressure Causes Heart Problems
Heart problems are among the most common results of high blood pressure. When blood flow to the heart is restricted, it can cause all sorts of problems, including heart disease, heart attacks, and heart failure.
Heart disease is what causes about one in every four deaths in the United States, making it the leading cause of death. The most common type is coronary artery disease, but this term also encompasses multiple different conditions that weaken the heart, making it difficult to pump blood throughout the body efficiently.
Heart attacks may be mild or life-threatening. They’re usually the result of fatty deposits and plaques building up in your arteries, both of which are highly correlated with heightened blood pressure.
If you experience a tight, painful feeling in your chest, see a doctor right away. The sooner you get to a medical professional, the better chance you have of a good outcome after a heart attack.
Heart failure means your heart simply can’t pump the blood for your whole body on its own efficiently. The harder your heart has to work due to hypertension, the more the chambers will stiffen and thicken until your heart’s pump grows weaker.
At this point, the condition can no longer be cured, but it can be improved with lifestyle changes and certain procedures which help the heart pump better.
Other Organs and Areas of the Body Affected by High Blood Pressure
Your heart isn’t the only area affected by hypertension. Other areas that are often hit the hardest are your kidneys, abdomen, and brain.
High blood pressure causes kidney disease in many people. Elevated blood pressure on a constant basis can damage the vessels inside the kidney and make them less efficient.
Extreme kidney damage may lead to kidney failure, in which the kidneys can’t function on their own, and this condition will require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
A stroke can occur when your brain doesn’t get enough blood due to complications of high blood pressure. Without proper blood flow, the cells in the brain die because they can’t get enough oxygen.
Strokes can often be deadly. Many people who survive a stroke later find that their cognitive abilities, vision, or movement abilities are impaired, potentially permanently.
Vascular dementia is often caused by a stroke, but there’s a risk of it occurring any time the brain isn’t getting proper blood flow. It’s a condition that involves difficulty reasoning and focusing in the early stages and trouble remembering past events in the later stages.
Dementia of any kind can be incredibly disruptive and disorienting. Some limited memory function can be restored with the right medication and treatment regimen, but the condition isn’t reversible.
While high blood pressure can lead to certain complications, early treatment of blood pressure can prevent these complications from occurring.
This can be as drastic as starting medication to lower your blood pressure or as simple as using natural methods like dieting and working out to bring your blood pressure back into a usual range.