Do you have high blood pressure? Ignoring it is a terrible mistake, you need to control it. Over time excessive force on your artery walls can seriously damage many of your body's vital organs. The higher your blood pressure or the longer it goes uncontrolled, the greater the damage. By the time symptoms appear, you may already have an injury.
Many studies demonstrate a direct relationship between uncontrolled high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure and eye problems. More specifically, high blood pressure can lead to the following problems:
- Damage to your arteries . This can result in hardening and thickening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), deposits of fat in the artery linings (atherosclerosis) and an enlarged, bulging blood vessel (aneurysm).
- Thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber . Called left ventricular hypertrophy, this can eventually lead to heart failure. The heart muscle thickens in order to pump blood against the higher pressure in the vessels. More blood is needed to do this, but narrowed blood vessels cannot supply that blood. At the same time, the thickened muscle may have a hard time pumping enough blood to meet your body's needs, causing fluid to build up in your lungs or in your feet and legs.
- A blocked or ruptured blood vessel in your brain . This can lead to stroke. High blood pressure is a risk factor for both types of stroke — ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.
- 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 high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess body weight and abnormal cholesterol levels. If you have high blood pressure, you're more likely to have other components of the syndrome. The more components you have, the greater your risk of developing diabetes, heart disease or stroke.