Every time you walk into a doctor’s office, someone measures your blood pressure as a matter of course. Medical providers are so concerned with this information because hypertension, or high blood pressure, places you at a greater risk for developing some very serious, and even life-threatening, conditions.
To underscore this point, half a million deaths each year in the United States list hypertension as a primary or secondary contributing cause.
To shed some light on why hypertension can be so worrisome, Dr. Kim and the team here at James Kim Cardiology present five complications that stem from having high blood pressure.
1. Heart attack
When you have hypertension, the walls of your arteries can become damaged or blocked, resulting in less blood flow to your heart. When this happens, you’re far more vulnerable to a heart attack.
Just as the blood vessels to your heart can become damaged or blocked by hypertension, so, too, can the blood vessels to your brain. A clot can then block blood and oxygen from reaching your brain, which is a condition known as a stroke. Strokes are very serious and life-altering, if not life-threatening.
3. Heart failure
If your heart has to work harder to circulate throughout your body, it can weaken to the point of congestive heart failure. With this condition, your heart isn’t pumping blood efficiently, so it backs up in your heart, causing your heart to enlarge.
4. Kidney disease
Your kidneys are tasked with filtering your blood, which means there are ample blood vessels around the organs that deliver and cart away blood. If these blood vessels are damaged or weakened by hypertension, you can develop kidney disease, which can lead to kidney failure.
5. Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
With hypertension, the blood vessels in your arms and legs may narrow, which means your limbs aren’t getting the oxygen and nutrients they need. With PAD, you may experience pain and fatigue in your limbs.
As PAD advances, our concern is that you develop ulcers in your limbs that don’t heal because of the lack of good blood flow. As a result, you may develop gangrene, forcing the amputation of the affected areas.
As you can see by the list above, the potential complications that arise from hypertension are serious. This list is also not comprehensive; high blood pressure can also lead to issues with your vision and your sexual health, to name a few more.
What worries us is that nearly half of all adults in the United States have hypertension, and only one-quarter of them have the condition under control.
There are ways to lower your blood pressure and your risks, and all it takes is one visit with us here to get started. To learn more about controlling your hypertension, contact one of our locations in Chula Vista or National City, California, to learn more.