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10 ways hypertension or High BP affects your body

10 ways hypertension or High BP affects your body

10 ways hypertension or High BP affects your body

Hypertension is one of the most leading causes of death across the globe and definite genetic factors, conditions like obesity or high cholesterol levels further add to anguishes of a hypertensive person. High blood pressure also increases the risk of the heart attacks and heart failure. Long standing hypertension can affect the vision and decrease blood supply to your legs. It can cause stroke, bleeding from the large blood vessel, chronic kidney disease or hypertensive nephropathy, etc.

Here are 10 ways hypertension or High BP affects your body:

Affects the blood vessels

In hypertension the wall of blood vessels lose their elasticity and become firm or hard, a condition called arteriosclerosis. Because of the steady pressure the walls of artery become weak and over time, might cause a part of it to swell. This forms an aneurysm or distension or a pouch-like structure in the vessel wall which can break and is invariably fatal.

Fails your heart

High blood pressure thickens and damages the lining of the blood vessels of the heart. The damaged blood vessels are flat to the formation of clots which can grow and block the blood supply to heart. This can decrease the competence of the heart and also damage its tissues leading to angina or chest pain. Increased blood pressure also increases the workload of the heart. This causes thickening of its muscle wall particularly the left ventricle or left ventricular hypertrophy which in turn compromises the heart’s capability to pump sufficient blood to the different organs finally leading to heart failure.

Affects the brain

Hypertension enhances the risk of brain haemorrhage or stroke by almost 10 times. According to a research, even if your blood pressure (BP) is slightly important, you might be prone to a stroke. In fact high BP is answerable for 80% of all heart attacks and stroke. Increased blood pressure weakens the small vessels in the brain causing them to break. Disruption of blood flow to the brain might also enhance the risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia.

Damages your kidney

Even your kidneys are not safe. Damage to the small vessels in the kidney due to eminent blood pressure reduces the blood supply to it. The kidney starts losing its normal functions like regulating the body fluid, hormones, salts, etc. and also regulating the blood pressure. This finally leads to kidney failure.

Causes problems with the vision or hypertensive retinopathy

Your eyes might pay the price too. If you are hypertensive, the opportunity of suffering from dry eyes increases. Blood vessels in the eye or retinal vessels are narrowed and the vision can get impaired leading to retinopathy and eventually blindness.

Causes sexual dysfunction

All the complications of hypertension mainly stem from thickening of the vessel walls, leading to the reduced blood flow to different body parts. The arteries supplying the penis are not spared too. They can get narrowed leading to reduced blood supply to the penis, and therefore can cause erectile dysfunction – an inability to maintain an erection while having sex. In women, high blood pressure can reduce the blood flow to the vagina which may lead to dryness of vagina, decreased sexual wish, etc. The medication for hypertension might only add to your woes. Some anti-hypertensive medications might also cause erection problems in men and low sex drive in women.

Affects pregnancy

High blood pressure during pregnancy can caused reduced blood flow to placenta stingy the oxygen and nutrient supply to the growing baby. This can lead to decreased growth and low birth weight of the baby. Preeclampsia, a more severe form of high blood pressure during pregnancy, can cause passing of protein in urine and affect other very important organs leading to serious complications for mother and baby. According to a research, the high blood pressure during pregnancy could dramatically enhance a woman’s stroke risk by as high as 40 %.

Causes painful cramps in the legs

Untreated longstanding high blood pressure can affect the blood vessels in your edges too. It can narrow down and harden the blood vessels of the legs leading to the condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD can affect the blood circulation in the leg and cause painful cramps. If you have painful cramps, get rid of them in less than 10 minutes.

Disturbs your sleep

10 ways hypertension or High BP affects your bodyHigh blood pressure and sleep are interrelated. According to research, people with high blood pressure are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep leading to disrupted sleep and daytime tiredness. Studies have also shown that severe OSA contributes to resistant hypertension, i.e. poor blood pressure control in spite of aggressive use of anti-hypertensive drugs.

May cause bone loss

High blood pressure can cause abnormalities of calcium metabolism. According to studies, it causes increased calcium elimination from the body, especially in older women. This sustained calcium loss may eventually be responsible for increased bone loss.

Photo credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center / Foter / CC BY-NC

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