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What is Hypertension?
There are different types of hypertension, and some are more dangerous than others. These include:
-Malignant hypertension, which is extremely high BP levels. This develops suddenly and can cause organ damage.
-Secondary hypertension, which is when BP levels increase because of another medical condition, for example thyroid dysfunction.
-Renal hypertension, which is elevated blood pressure caused by kidney disease.
-Pulmonary hypertension, which is high BP affecting the arteries in the lungs and the right side of your heart.
Each of these conditions is serious in its own right.
Why It’s So Dangerous
Undiagnosed hypertension can lead to a number of complications over time. Some of these are:
High BP can damage the inner lining of your arteries, which causes arteriosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. This in turn creates the environment for atherosclerosis, which is the build-up of fats in your arteries that eventually causes blockages. The pressure can also cause a weakening of your artery walls, which eventually get so thin they begin to bulge and form aneurysms. These can burst and result in internal bleeding.
Your heart is responsible for distributing your blood throughout your body. When your BP is high you may develop coronary artery disease, which prevents the blood from flowing freely to the heart. You could also develop an enlarged left heart due to the extra work your left ventricle needs to do, or a weakened heart muscle that can ultimately fail. Any of these conditions can result in chest pain, arrhythmia or heart attacks.
The effects of high blood pressure on the brain include a stroke or mini-stroke, usually caused by temporary disruption of the blood supply due to a clot. Vascular dementia also occurs from insufficient blood supply, as does mild cognitive impairment.
Like all your other organs, the kidneys depend on a healthy, steady blood flow to function properly. When this is interrupted for any of the reason listed above, it can cause the kidneys to be unable to filter waste properly. This results in scarring of the organ or weakened areas that turn into aneurysms. If the aneurysm bursts it causes internal bleeding, and if the scarred kidneys can’t work effectively they might fail completely.
If all these aren’t enough to convince you, there are additional complications that can occur such as:
eye blood vessel damage,
optic nerve damage
sleep apnea, and
This doesn’t mean these conditions are always caused by high blood pressure levels, but untreated hypertension can certainly result in symptoms of one or more illnesses.
Get Screened Regularly
Take the time to get your BP screened regularly, and educate yourself on what the numbers mean. Manage your diet and lifestyle to avoid being overweight and developing other risk factors, and take steps to bring your blood pressure down if necessary.