Complications of Hypertension: Problems High Blood Pressure Causes

The complications of hypertension are those problems that occurs in the body as a result of the High blood pressure in the blood vessels. These complications are commonly seen in the arteries, which carry blood away from the heart and endure the force of the blood directly.

The blood vessels spread throughout the body in other to get air, nutrients and waste to and from any part of the body, thus the complications of hypertension can affect any part of the body. However, the serious and life-threatening complications of hypertension occur if the brain, heart, kidneys, eyes and some very large arteries are affected.

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Complication of Hypertension

The complications of Hypertension are different, and depends on the organ of the body that is affected. They include

complications of hypertension
complications of hypertension in different organs. Image credit: heart

Brain:

Blood vessels in the brain are very tiny and fragile. If the blood pressure gets too high it can burst the vessels and cause bleeding in the brain which, depending on the location of the burst blood vessels can cause stroke (haemorrhagic stroke) or subarachnoid haemorrhage, another serious condition that causes a sudden and very severe headache and can cause permanent brain damage or even death if not treated quickly and properly.

Hypertension can also cause another type of stroke called ischemic stroke, where a blood clot formed due to the damages the high blood pressure did to the blood vessel walls would block the small vessels in the brain starving some parts of the brain of oxygen and nutrients and thus causing brain damage.

Stroke severely reduces the quality of life of an individual, if he/she survives. It also stresses and frustrates the people around the person who would take care of him. In short, you wouldn’t want to wish a severe stroke even on your greatest enemy. Read more about stroke here

Heart

Our blood vessels, especially the arteries, can stretch when blood flows into them in other to regulate the blood pressure. However, in hypertension, the vessels are damaged and can no longer stretch leading to further increase in the blood pressure and the heart would then need to work harder in other to pump sufficient blood.

The heart would get bigger in other to meet up just as these young boys get bigger muscles from lifting weights. However trust me you don’t want your heart to get bigger as at first it can sustain the extra work but later it would get tired and this would cause what is called heart failure; you would get tired easily and fluid would start accumulating in different parts of the body especially the legs.

It could progress to involve the lungs, and breathing would get difficult and then we’ll blame the village people. Complications of hypertension on the heart can also cause heart attack and sudden death if the blood vessels that feed the heart get blocked due to the damage that it incurred due to hypertension.

Kidneys

The complications of hypertension on the kidneys can lead to damage of the blood vessels. If the blood vessels in the kidneys get damaged, the individual can develop kidney failure which is not easily treated in our environment because of how expensive it is.

Eyes

The small vessels in the eye can burst leading to problems with sight. Hypertension can also cause sudden blindness if the damaged blood vessels get blocked by blood clots. The sudden vision loss if not treated immediately as an emergency can become a permanent and irreversible blindness, and this is the most common outcome in our environment

Large arteries

The complications of hypertension on the blood vessels causes them to lose their elasticity and their walls would also weaken. If the blood pressure gets higher those weak parts of the arteries can balloon out into what is called aneurysms which are risky time bombs that can burst at any time to lead to massive internal bleeding that can easily kill a person.

A very large artery called the aorta is like the expressway connecting the heart and everything below its position. Aortic aneurysm and dissection is a very fast killer.

These complications of hypertension can be prevented by early diagnosis of hypertension and adherence to your doctor’s prescriptions and appointments.

Conclusion and Recommendations
Hypertension does not give you any sign until it is too late. If you are 18 years or older and you have never checked your blood pressure before, as soon as you finish reading this article start hunting for a way to check it to prevent these complications of hypertension.

If you have checked yours and it was less than 120/80mmHg; keep checking it at least once every 2 years. if you are 40 years or older , obese or have a family history of hypertension then have your blood pressure checked every year.

However if you have any opportunity to check your blood pressure more frequently please take it. If you measure your blood pressure and the top reading is higher than 120 or the bottom reading is higher than 80, please find a doctor for further advice.

Finally spread the news share the knowledge with people around you ask your neighbor if he/she have had their blood pressure checked and encourage each other. Together we can expose the tricks of the silent killer and halt its attacks until we learn enough to eliminate it completely.

Authors

  • Ahamefule henry attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching hospital, UNTH in Ituku Ozalla, Enugu State. Nigeria

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