Risks, complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure
Risks, complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure

Risks and complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure can be serious and even life-threatening. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition in which the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is consistently too high. When left unchecked, high blood pressure can cause damage to your organs and increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.

Definition

High blood pressure is a condition in which the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is consistently too high. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and is recorded with two numbers. The first number, or systolic pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The second number, or diastolic pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart is at rest between beats. High blood pressure is defined as a reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher.

Causes

The exact cause of high blood pressure is often unknown, but several factors can contribute to its development. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders

Symptoms

High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it typically has no symptoms. However, some people with high blood pressure may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nosebleeds
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain

Treatment

Treatment for high blood pressure typically involves lifestyle changes and medications. Lifestyle changes may include:

  • Healthy eating
  • Regular physical activity
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Reducing stress

Medications for high blood pressure may include:

  • Diuretics
  • ACE inhibitors
  • ARBs
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers

Complications

If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause serious complications, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Vision loss
  • Sexual dysfunction

What are the risk factors for high blood pressure?

Risk factors for high blood pressure include smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, stress, older age, family history of high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, and adrenal and thyroid disorders.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is often called the “silent killer” because it typically has no symptoms. However, some people with high blood pressure may experience headaches, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, dizziness, or chest pain.

How is high blood pressure treated?

Treatment for high blood pressure typically involves lifestyle changes and medications. Lifestyle changes may include healthy eating, regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and reducing stress. Medications for high blood pressure may include diuretics, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers.

What are the complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure?

If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause serious complications, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, vision loss, and sexual dysfunction.

Can high blood pressure be prevented?

High blood pressure can be prevented or controlled with lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating, regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and reducing stress.

How often should I have my blood pressure checked?

You should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year, or more often if you have a history of high blood pressure or other risk factors.

What should I do if I have high blood pressure?

If you have high blood pressure, you should work with your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes and medications, if necessary.

Can I still exercise if I have high blood pressure?

Yes, regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.

Is high blood pressure hereditary?

High blood pressure can run in families, but it is not always hereditary.

The good news is that high blood pressure can be prevented or controlled with lifestyle changes and medications.

To help prevent or control high blood pressure:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Reduce stress
  • Quit smoking

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition in which the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is consistently too high. Risks and complications of uncontrolled high blood pressure can be serious and even life-threatening. If left untreated, high blood pressure can cause damage to your organs and increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. Treatment for high blood pressure typically involves lifestyle changes and medications. Lifestyle changes may include healthy eating, regular physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, and reducing stress. Medications for high blood pressure may include diuretics, ACE inhibitors, ARBs, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers. It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly and to work with your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that works for you.