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