High blood pressure or hypertension has become a global pandemic for many decades now. This has become a major health problem for different people of different races in different parts of the world. The difficulty in maintaining a healthy blood pressure reading poses a great risk for developing serious and sometimes, fatal complications of the disease.
Normal blood pressure ranges from 90/60 mmHg to about 140/90 mmHg. Any value higher than this is considered high blood pressure and this must be corrected to prevent complications. This article highlights briefly some of the complications of hypertension that makes it necessary for everybody to try to maintain a healthy blood pressure level.
Dangers Associated With High Blood Pressure to Avoid
The excessive pressure on the artery walls caused by high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels, as well as organs in the body. The higher the blood pressure and the longer it goes uncontrolled, the greater the damage.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to complications including:
- Heart attack or stroke – High blood pressure can cause hardening and thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other complications.
- Aneurysm – Increased blood pressure can cause the blood vessels to weaken and bulge, forming an aneurysm. If an aneurysm ruptures, it can be life-threatening.
- Heart failure – To pump blood against the higher pressure in the vessels, the heart has to work harder. This causes the walls of the heart’s pumping chamber to thicken (left ventricular hypertrophy). Eventually, the thickened muscle may have a hard time pumping enough blood to meet the body’s needs, which can lead to heart failure.
- Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys – This can prevent these organs from functioning normally.
- Thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes – This can result in vision loss.
- Metabolic syndrome – This syndrome is a cluster of disorders of your body’s metabolism, including increased waist circumference; high triglycerides; low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol; high blood pressure and high insulin levels. These conditions make it more likely for someone to develop diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- Trouble with memory or understanding – Uncontrolled high blood pressure may also affect the ability to think, remember and learn. Trouble with memory or understanding concepts is more common in people with high blood pressure.
- Dementia – Narrowed or blocked arteries can limit blood flow to the brain, leading to a certain type of dementia (vascular dementia). A stroke that interrupts blood flow to the brain also can cause vascular dementia. Read more
Controlling High Blood Pressure
Changing the lifestyle can go a long way toward controlling high blood pressure. doctors may recommend to make lifestyle changes including:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet with less salt
- Getting regular physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if overweight or obese
- Limiting the amount of alcohol intake.
But sometimes lifestyle changes aren’t enough. In addition to diet and exercise, doctor may recommend medication to lower the blood pressure. There are different kinds or classes of drugs that can be used to control high blood pressure and the doctor will get you started on a particular type to see which fits you the most. Some of the blood pressure medications can have negative side effects and you should not hesitate to report to your doctor any side effects of your blood pressure drugs so that he can change the drugs for you.
The blood pressure treatment goal depends on how healthy patients are.
The blood pressure treatment goal should be less than 130/80 mm Hg if:
- Their is a healthy adult age 65 or older
- Their is a healthy adult younger than age 65 with a 10 percent or higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years
- The patient have chronic kidney disease, diabetes or coronary artery disease.
Although 120/80 mm Hg or lower is the ideal blood pressure goal, doctors are unsure if treatment is needed (medications) to reach that level.
If age 65 or older, and use of medications produces lower systolic blood pressure (such as less than 130 mm Hg), the medications won’t need to be changed unless they cause negative effects to the health or quality of life.