In this article, we will explore the many ways in which an unawareness of high blood pressure can damage your body.
Hypertension is a national concern: the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) shows that almost 30% of all US adults, which is about 70 million people, already have issues of high blood pressure.
What is more alarming is that an estimated 13 million US adults aren’t even aware that they have hypertension. In fact, many people find out during a routine check up because it produces virtually no noticeable symptoms – this is why it is called “the silent killer.”
Unfortunately, a large number of individual don’t have routine check ups; many go years without visiting a doctor because they feel perfectly healthy and therefore, don’t see it as being necessary. This means that they are not taking antihypertensive medications or making necessary lifestyle changes to lower their blood pressure and damage could quite possibly be accumulating inside their body.
3 Ways Undiagnosed Hypertension Can Damage The Body
Probably the most widely known way hypertension can damage the body is through heart disease or failure. However, the heart isn’t the only organ or area of the body that can be negatively affected.
Having a Stroke
A stroke has usually has no warning signs. Common symptoms of a stroke are: sudden numbness in the face or body (especially on one side), face drooping, sudden difficulty in speaking, understand, walking or other functions that you are used to doing without even thinking.
The main cause of a stroke is an interruption in the blood supply to or in the brain. If you don’t get your blood pressure in check, it may lead to damage and weakening of your brain’s blood vessels, which will cause them to rupture, narrow or leak. When that happens, stroke is more likely to happen.
A stroke can also happen if a blood clot ends up blocking an artery; high blood pressure increases one’s risk of blood clots. Permanent brain damage may occur after a stroke.
Another threat of undiagnosed hypertension is kidney disease or failure.
One of the first things your doctor will do when you’re first diagnosed is check for excessive protein in your urine, which is usually a sign of kidney damage.
There are several ways kidney damage can occur due to high blood pressure. One way is an aneurysm. The high pressure can weaken the walls of an artery prematurely and when this happens a bulge can form and this bulge can end up rupturing. Internal bleeding then occurs which can and will lead to death.
Another way kidney damage can occur is from a chain reaction beginning in the blood vessels or arteries going to the kidneys. Hypertension can lead to the narrowing, weakening or hardening of these vessels and arteries and when this happens, the blood supply to the nephrons of the kidneys is impaired.
The nephrons are responsible for the keeping the body’s fluids and nutrients in balance by filtering the blood. When its blood supply is interrupted, the filtering process slows down, leading to toxic build up while important nutrients like protein are lost in the urine instead of being reinjected into the bloodstream.
Vision Loss or Damage
High blood pressure can lead to vision problems by damaging the blood vessels within the eye. The blood vessels in question are in the retina – an area near the back of the eyes where images focus.
Choroidopathy, which is fluid build up in an area below the retina, can also occur because of ruptured/leaky blood vessels in the area. This can lead to scarring which affects your ability to see properly. Furthermore, several studies such as this one in the American Journal of Ophthalmology have a found a strong correlation between intraocular pressure and arterial blood pressure. This is important to note because intraocular hypertension is a major risk factor for developing glaucoma.
How To Reduce Risk of High Blood Pressure
Have you ever heart the old adage “prevention is better than cure”? Hypertension may be the poster child for this phrase because though some people are more likely to develop it due to family history for example, there are many things you can do to reduce the risk.
Before you start working towards reducing your risk, however, it’s important that you get your blood pressure checked so you know where you stand. Remember – there are usually no noticeable symptoms.
If you do indeed have high blood pressure, your doctor may suggest some lifestyle changes and home remedies before putting you on medication, especially if you’re in the prehypertensive range.
If your pressure is fine, some things you can do to keep it that way are exercising regularly, eating out less and making sure that your stress levels are in check. You should also incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet and try to maintain a healthy weight.
For most people, this is enough to keep their blood pressure at a healthy level for a long time.
This post was supported by Pure Path Essential Oils; image by Jamie Street on Unsplash