5 Serious Health Complications of Uncontrolled Hypertension

5 Serious Health Complications of Uncontrolled Hypertension

Nearly half of the adults in the United States have elevated blood pressure (hypertension). Long-term health complications related to uncontrolled hypertension are significant. Fortunately, medication and lifestyle changes can usually keep your blood pressure under control.

The team at Premier Cardiology Consultants offers quality cardiology care to people throughout New York City. Many of their services focus on treating the health effects of uncontrolled blood pressure.

Learn why the Premier Cardiology Consultants group advocates so strongly for treating hypertension now before damage occurs.

Understanding hypertension

Blood pressure measures the force with which blood flows through your arteries. The higher the pressure, the greater the pressure against artery walls. Without treatment, elevated blood pressure (hypertension) damages the smooth tissue that lines artery walls.

This damage allows fats (cholesterol) in your bloodstream to collect against the inner artery walls, eventually forming plaques that narrow and stiffen the blood vessel. As arteries constrict, your heart pumps harder to supply the blood your body requires. Unfortunately, this action increases blood pressure, causing even more damage to your arteries.

Most people think “heart” when contemplating diseased arteries. While cardiac arteries are commonly affected by elevated blood pressure, hypertension can affect arteries throughout your body.

Five serious health complications of uncontrolled hypertension

Five common health risks associated with uncontrolled hypertension include:

1. Heart attack

Uncontrolled hypertension often affects the cardiac arteries, causing them to become clogged with plaque. This restricts blood flow to the heart, leading to a heart attack.

2. Stroke

Your brain requires a consistent supply of oxygen-enriched blood to perform its many tasks. Uncontrolled hypertension can damage the carotid arteries, which carry blood to your brain, leading to stroke.

3. Vision loss

Elevated blood pressure can injure the small vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen to the eyes, leading to vision loss.

4. Heart failure

Elevated blood pressure makes your heart work harder. This can cause the heart’s muscular walls to thicken and enlarge over time, decreasing its ability to function normally and resulting in heart failure.

5. Kidney failure

Uncontrolled hypertension and resulting artery damage restrict your kidneys’ ability to filter excess fluids, toxins, and other wastes from your bloodstream. While often caused by hypertension, kidney disease can increase your blood pressure even further.

Notably, narrowed arteries related to uncontrolled hypertension also cause peripheral vascular disease (PVD), affecting the arteries that supply blood to your stomach, arms, and legs. PVD most commonly affects the legs, causing cramping pain in the calves with physical activity, nonhealing sores (ulcers), and numbness or weakness in the affected extremity.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Unfortunately, hypertension is usually asymptomatic until arterial damage has already occurred, which can take several years. However, routine blood pressure checks can quickly identify hypertension or indicate a concerning trend of increasingly elevated blood pressure.

Your primary care physician or other healthcare providers likely check your blood pressure every time you visit. However, most pharmacies offer free blood pressure screening if you rarely see the doctor. In addition, digital home blood pressure devices are widely available and very easy to use. Beginning blood pressure treatment early can prevent health consequences.

How do you treat hypertension?

Your Premier Cardiology Consultant starts with a thorough evaluation to rule out underlying causes of hypertension and bases your treatment strategy on those results.

Most people respond well to medication that lowers blood pressure. In addition, lifestyle changes that reduce factors contributing to hypertension are also a significant component of treatment. For example, weight loss, increased exercise, improved nutrition, and other healthy habits may reduce your need for medication.

Don’t ignore your heart health. Instead, schedule a visit at Premier Cardiology Consultants today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.

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