Blood pressure refers to the pressure of the blood in the circulatory system. In other words, the measurement shows how hard your heart is working to circulate blood throughout your body. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is quite dangerous. Many people don’t know they have high blood pressure as it can take years for symptoms to develop. It is very important to check your blood pressure somewhat regularly, especially if you are at risk for hypertension. Why is high blood pressure bad? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.
An optimum blood pressure reading for an adult is usually measured at 120/80. If over a period of several weeks you are having consistent blood pressure readings of 140/90 or higher, you most likely have hypertension.
High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, blood circulation problems and even stroke. Healthy arteries allow blood to move smoothly, bringing essential oxygen and nutrients to the vital organs and tissues. If you have hypertension, the blood is having to work harder to pump through your arteries. This can cause two major problems in particular. Firstly, narrowed arteries can develop which means less blood is circulating around your body. Secondly, narrowed arteries can lead to an aneurysm. Increased pressure from the restricted blood flow can cause a rupture and lead to internal bleeding. The most common type of aneurysm to occur from hypertension is in the aorta (the heart’s largest artery).
Untreated high blood pressure can lead to coronary artery disease. If you have coronary artery disease, a narrowing of the arteries that restricts blood flow to and from the heart, you are at risk for a heart attack. If you are experiencing any kind of chest pain or arrhythmias (irregular heart beats) you must see a doctor. When your heart is experiencing too much strain, the muscles are weakened and won’t work as well.
The brain needs a strong and steady supply of well-oxygenated blood to work efficiently. High blood pressure can have negative effects on the brain. You can be at risk for developing transient ischemic attacks (mini-strokes) where the blood supply is temporarily blocked from reaching your brain. If left untreated, full blown strokes can occur. A stroke is when the brain is cut off from oxygen and nutrients for enough time that brain cells die. High blood pressure can cause a stroke because of how it damages the blood vessels. Blood clots form in the arteries and the flow of blood is blocked.
Vascular dementia can also be a result of untreated high blood pressure. If the arteries carrying blood to the brain become too narrow or even blocked the brain can be damaged. Understanding and memory can be impaired.
High blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels in and around your kidneys. The kidneys work by removing waste from the blood. If the kidneys are not functioning correctly, due to hypertension, kidney disease can form. In fact, kidney failure most often occurs because of high blood pressure. When your body can’t filter out waste adequately, the excess fluid and waste builds up which can lead to irreparable damage.
what causes high blood pressure
High blood pressure can develop due to several different reasons. If you consume a diet too high in salt and/or fat, are overweight or obese, don’t exercise enough and/or drink alcohol in excess, you can be at risk for high blood pressure. There is also a genetic component involved so if you have a family history of high blood pressure it’s best to get yours checked regularly. The process of aging can also lead to the development of high blood pressure. Always consult a doctor if you have any concerns.