10 complications of high blood pressure

Hypertension, if left untreated can lead to several problems. Be on the lookout for these complications of high blood pressure!

In our daily lives, it is easy to overlook things that silently affect our well-being. One such culprit is hypertension or high blood pressure. It is a medical condition where the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries is consistently too high. When your blood pressure exceeds the range of 120/80 mmHg, this is when you should be more careful as it can put you at risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and kidney damage. Be on the lookout for these health conditions that can sneak up on you if you neglect your blood pressure for far too long.

Beware of these 10 complications of high blood pressure!

Health Shots asked Internal Medicine specialist Dr Saibal Chakravorty of Metro Hospital to know the conditions that can affect you if your blood pressure shoots up.

1. Cardiac issues

High blood pressure makes your heart work harder, and the constant pressure damages the arteries, causing them to rupture and narrow. Leaving your blood pressure uncontrolled can increase your risk of heart attack, heart failure, and coronary artery disease.

Woman having a heart attack
High blood pressure can lead to heart problems. Image courtesy: Freepik

2. Vision problems

Unchecked blood pressure can cause considerable damage to your eyes. A study published in Clinical Ophthalmology found that high blood pressure can lead to visual impairment. Dr Chakravorty says that the damage to your blood vessels can cause a harmful condition called hypertensive retinopathy, which can disturb your vision. The constant rise in your blood pressure can also lead to problems such as glaucoma and wobbly eyes among other vision-related problems.

3. Cognitive decline or dementia

High blood pressure has been found to increase the risk of cognitive impairment, according to a study published in Frontiers in Neurology. Long-term hypertension can damage the brain vessels, causing symptoms of vascular dementia. This problem only exacerbates as you age due to the brain’s structural modifications and poor blood supply.

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4. Stroke

Chronic hypertension damages the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, which in turn can increase your risk of a stroke if left uncontrolled. This damages the blood vessels, which leads to blockages or ruptures, resulting in hemorrhagic or ischemic strokes, says the expert.

5. Thyroid

While high blood pressure does not directly cause thyroid problems, hypertension may contribute to cardiovascular issues, impacting blood flow to the thyroid gland. Reduced blood supply may affect thyroid function, and potentially increase the risk of thyroid disorders.

6. Pregnancy complications

High blood pressure for pregnant women is a concern! Women who are pregnant should never leave their blood pressure unchecked as it can lead to many complications and can even cause Preeclampsia, a condition characterised by high blood pressure and damage to organs like the kidney and liver. This condition represents a high level of danger for both the mother and the unborn child.

7. Respiratory issues

Studies have indicated a correlation between hypertension and lung disorders, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Increased blood vessel pressure can affect the small arteries in the lungs may experience changes in shape and function. Reduced lung function, impaired oxygen exchange, and an increased risk of respiratory symptoms could result from this.

8. Kidney damage

High blood pressure if left untreated can severely damage the kidneys and cause chronic renal disease in which the ability of the kidneys to remove waste and keep the proper amount of fluid in the body is impaired. As per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, hypertension can constrict and narrow the blood vessels that damage and weaken throughout the body, including your kidneys.

Important tests for kidney diseases
High blood pressure can increase kidney disease risk. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

9. Aneurysms

Aneurysms are bulges in blood vessels, posing a risk of rupture and life-threatening bleeding. High blood pressure can weaken and damage the artery walls, raising the possibility of aneurysms and dilated or bulging arteries. A study published in PLOS One found a link between high blood pressure and cerebral aneurysms. Possible internal bleeding from a ruptured aneurysm can be lethal.

10. Sleep Apnea

If you suffer from constant high blood pressure, you may be at risk of developing sleep apnea. High blood pressure can increase inflammation and fluid retention, which can exacerbate sleep apnea by further blocking the airways.

So, ignoring high blood pressure can lead to many health conditions which is why you must keep it in check.