World Hypertension Day: 9 serious problems caused by high BP and how to prevent them

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, understand the disease well and control it within time to remain healthy in the long term.
High blood pressure
Keep your blood pressure in check! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 13:09 pm IST
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It’s World Hypertension Day today! High blood pressure is a very common problem in Indians and with each passing day, more and more people are getting affected by it because of the changed lifestyle demands. Also called hypertension, it takes a toll on almost each and every part of the body. Uncontrolled high blood pressure causes disability, poor quality of life, and higher mortality rates in the patients.

So if you are suffering from high blood pressure, you must understand the disease well and control it within time to remain healthy in the long term.

blood pressure issues
Hypertension can happen to both young and older people. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here are a few complications that one can undergo due to high blood pressure:

1. Heart attack and brain stroke

Are you aware that hardening of the arteries (calcifications and atherosclerosis) can occur due to high blood pressure. It can damage blood vessels, causing them to stiffen, and forcing the heart to work harder in order to circulate blood throughout the body. In short, a lack of blood supply to your heart or brain can cause a heart attack or brain stroke. So control of blood pressure by taking daily medications and to say the least, regular measurement is essential to avoid this complication.

Also, read: Double trouble of diabetes and hypertension? This diet is just for you!

2. Aneurysm

It is dilatation of one’s artery which makes it swell up to form a balloon. Aneurysm can happen in any artery due to badly managed high blood pressure, and is often seen in the body’s largest artery, aorta.

hypertension and pregnancy
Dear ladies, get your blood pressure checked regularly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Coronary artery disease

High blood pressure causes arteries to become narrow, which makes it difficult for them to supply blood to the heart. It can lead to chest pain (angina), and irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).

4. Heart failure

Hypertension causes the heart muscle to thicken and become enlarged. Our heart has two functions, the first is a systolic function to push the blood with force in the aorta and the second is diastolic, meaning to accept the incoming blood in the empty heart, so that it can push new blood into the aorta. Hypertension can affect both functions and cause heart failure.

5. Sudden cardiac death

Unmanaged hypertension can also increase the chances of sudden cardiac death.

6. Peripheral artery disease

You will be shocked to know that hypertension leads to peripheral artery disease (PAD) by reducing blood flow to the legs. It leads to pain and cramping in the legs, even with little exertion.

7. Kidney failure

Hypertension is one of the major factors behind kidney failure. It takes a toll on the small blood vessels that supply blood to your kidneys. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure leads to chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.

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Keep an eye out on kidney problems, especially when you have hypertension. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

8. Vision loss

Small and delicate blood vessels that supply blood to your eyes can get damaged due to uncontrolled blood pressure. It can lead to blurry vision or even vision loss.

9. Erectile dysfunction

In men, high BP can impacts one’s sex life too. A proper blood flow is essential to achieve and maintain an erection. But, the damage to blood vessels from uncontrolled high blood pressure can reduce blood flow to the penis.

Lifestyle modifications to prevent these serious problems:

  1. Regular exercise for 30 to 40 minutes is essential. Even if it’s a brisk walk, is very essential for heart health. If you can run, swim or cycle, it would be better but daily walking is the minimum exercise we must do to avoid cardiovascular diseases.
  2. Eating habits should also be corrected and one must avoid eating junk food, having soft drinks, fried and salty foods as they are precursors to high blood pressure.
  3. Reduce salt intake. Make sure to quit smoking or any form of tobacco use.
  4. Practise yoga or meditation to reduce the stress on the body.
  5. Sleeping for 7 to 8 hours at night is very important as our body gets rejuvenated by peaceful sound sleep.
  6. Regular medication and check-ups with your doctor to keep blood pressure in control.

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About the Author

Dr Bipeenchandra Bhamre Consultant Cardiac Surgeon Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre in Mumbai ...Read More

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