High blood pressure is a long-term medical condition in which blood pressure is persistently elevated, such that it may eventually cause health problems, such as stroke. It is often called the “silent disease” as it can go undetected for years. If you have hypertension, your heart works harder than it should to pump blood to your tissues and organs.
Hypertension generally develops over several years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure is detected. Once you know you have high blood pressure, you can control it.
Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to complications including:
Heart attack or stroke.
High blood pressure causes hardening and thickening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can eventually lead to a heart attack, stroke or other complications.
High blood pressure causes your blood vessels to weaken and swell up, forming an aneurysm. Sometimes, a ruptured aneurysm can be life-threatening.
In order for the heart to pump blood against the higher pressure in your vessels, the heart has to work harder. This causes the walls of the heart’s pumping chamber to thicken (left ventricular hypertrophy). Eventually, the thickened muscle may have a hard time pumping enough blood to meet your body’s needs, which can lead to heart failure.
Weakened and narrowed blood vessels in your kidneys which prevents them from functioning normally.
Vision loss due to thickened, narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes.
Difficulty understanding and memory
Uncontrolled high blood pressure may also affect your ability to think, remember and learn. This can sometimes be due to insufficient blood flow to the brain.
Your brain relies on a healthy supply of oxygen-rich blood to work properly. High blood pressure can reduce your brain’s supply of blood. Narrowed or blocked arteries can also limit blood flow to the brain, leading to a certain type of dementia (vascular dementia). A stroke that interrupts blood flow to the brain also can cause vascular dementia.