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31st August 2017
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Lymphatic & Blood Systems
31st August 2017

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Damage Caused By High Blood Pressure

DAMAGE CAUSED BY HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

 

High Blood pressure may, in certain circumstances endanger your body more than Coronary Heart Disease

I have detailed below how “High Blood Pressure“ (Medically termed ‘Hypertension’) may affect your body and why Blood Pressure can be life threatening and needs to be treated.
You may recall in other sections I referred to High Blood Pressure as the ‘Silent Killer’ because it can develop in the early stages without any real symptoms and start damaging your body years before any health symptoms show. A routine visit to the doctor or a health check-up may indicate your Blood Pressure is above recognised limits and should be assessed by a doctor.
If high blood pressure is not diagnosed, people may suffer from many life-threatening conditions, or complications with their health. Some of the organs affected are listed below.

FACT

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High blood pressure is seriously dangerous. In the Home section on “Facts About the Human Body” one of the statistics stated that around 300 million people globally are unaware they have high blood pressure.
It’s estimated around 30% of these 300 million die of heart disease.
Another 18% of the 300 million die from a stroke.
It’s possible some of these deaths could have been avoided if they had been diagnosed and treated for high blood pressure.
 

SYMPTOMS OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

 
People may be unaware they have high blood pressure, and in fact those suffering with regular levels of high blood pressure are unlikely to have any symptoms. Nevertheless they all have a continuing risk of suffering a stroke or a heart attack, which is why it’s called the ‘Silent Killer’.
Should you have a blood pressure reading around 180mmHg/120mmHg, it would be classed as a “Hypertensive Crisis” that could possibly cause a stroke or damage blood vessels, bearing in mind medically accepted blood pressure is between 90mmHg/60mmHg and 120mmHg/80mmGh.
When people have blood pressure around 180mmHg/120mmHg they could experience a very bad headache, chest pain, feel tired, have problems with vison, feel dizzy, feel breathless. If you are concerned about symptoms like these, you should seek medical assistance.

DAMAGE TO ARTERIES

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It is known that higher than normal blood pressure can damage weaken and narrow the walls and cells of your arteries, or possibly cause blood clots and other conditions.

One of these conditions is atherosclerosis, where fats from your diet pass through damaged cells within the inner linings of your arteries that may have become thickened or stiff. This condition is also known to cause ‘Hardening Of The Arteries’ the consequence of which can lead to coronary artery disease.

 
There are three types of muscle in the human body, these are known as “Smooth Muscles” “Skeletal Muscles” and the “Cardiac Muscle” which is the human heart. Fortunately, unlike smooth and skeletal muscles that can become tired, the heart muscle doesn’t get tired.

 
However, when blood pressure increases, the heart must work harder, and this can cause the heart muscle to enlarge, creating possible life-threatening conditions.

The damage to your arteries can restrict the flow of blood, causing possible damage to your heart, kidneys, lungs, arms, legs and to your brain, which controls everything.

Narrowing of the arteries of the heart can cause chest pain (known as Angina). The symptoms of angina, also referred to as ‘Coronary artery disease’ is a severe pain in the chest that may spread to the neck, down the arms and shoulders. These symptoms are caused by the damage to your arteries, resulting in a reduced supply of oxygenated blood to your body.

This condition may have been caused in the first instance by ‘High Blood Pressure’ and could possibly have been prevented.

DAMAGE TO THE BRAIN

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Damage to the brain can manifest itself in different ways, such as a blood clot or a bleed. Either of these reduces blood flow to the brain. The lack of blood flowing starves your brain cells which start to die. The consequence of brain cells dying depends on which area of the brain is damaged. Again, these conditions may have been caused in the first instance by ‘High Blood Pressure.’ There are different conditions when the brain is damaged, I have listed some below:

 
‘TIA’ This stands for ‘Transient Ischemic Attack’ This condition is often referred to as a ‘Mini Stroke’ which may have been a temporary loss of blood to the brain caused by a blood clot or atherosclerosis, I referred to atherosclerosis when explaining damage to arteries. A TIA can often be a warning sign that you are at risk of a major stroke.

‘STROKE’ A stroke again is caused by either a blood clot, atherosclerosis,
Atherosclerosis is a potentially serious condition where arteries become clogged with fatty substances referred to as atheroma or plaques. It is possible to prevent this condition with a healthy lifestyle. More about Atherosclerosis in section 30.
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or a bleed in the brain. Unlike a TIA which is a temporary condition, the lack of oxygenated blood causes brain cells to die. This can leave permanent damage to your mobility, speech, sight and possibly death.
 
‘VASCULAR DEMENTIA’ This condition can be caused by loss of blood to the brain caused by a blood clot or atherosclerosis. The resulting damage can cause problems with speaking, memory loss, loss of eyesight.

To summarise

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DAMAGE TO KIDNEYS

High Blood Pressure can cause damage to the kidneys, and on the other side of the coin, it’s said that kidney disease can be a cause of high blood pressure. The name for this condition is Renal Hypertension, also called Renal Vascular Hypertension. There is more information on Renal Hypertension in the section explaining different “Types of Hypertension” plus more information on kidney disease in our members section.
Renal hypertension is a condition that can have a serious impact on quality of life. High blood pressure is a common cause of kidney disease and possibly be a cause of kidney failure. Poor blood supply causes damage to arteries and the possibility of spending a life using a dialysis machine to filter blood, removing excess water and waste that can no longer be filtered by a diseased kidney.
Unfortunately, unless people have tests the early stages of kidney disease have no real symptoms. However, a urine test can detect possible problems. Should a urine test for protein show positive, further tests would be carried out.
On the positive side, there are treatments that can work for some people to slow down or prevent kidney disease.
During my research, I found several organisations conducting research to understand more about the early stages of kidney disease and kidney failure and to discover ways to treat early symptoms and stop any disease progressing further.
Damage to the kidneys may have been caused in the first instance by ‘High Blood Pressure.’ and could therefore possibly have been prevented.

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION (ED)

 

LOSS OF EYESIGHT

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Another side effect of high blood pressure can be the loss or impairment of your eyesight. If you’ve had a recent eye test you may recall the optometrist shining a light into your eyes; they are looking at the retina at the back of the eye. If you have high blood pressure, there are capillaries on the retina which may bleed or become narrow. In addition, the optic nerve may swell and cause further problems with your eyesight.
Blood pressure is not the only thing that can affect your eyesight, and in the Members Section I have explained more.

SMOKING

 
There are two sections providing information how smoking damages the arteries. One is in the home section, the other in the Members Section.
Like other conditions, the damage doesn’t happen overnight, it could take years before any symptoms appear. Sadly once the damage has occurred, there may well be many health issues.

DIABETES

 

OBESITY

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Without question, being overweight or obese will definitely increase the chances of Type2 diabetes, this can be caused by the body's insulin resistance and inability to control blood sugar levels.
Obesity will also raise blood pressure causing damage to arteries and the possibility of atherosclerosis.

STRESS

Also without question stress can be linked to the cause of so many conditions, including high blood pressure. There is a detailed section about stress in the Members Section that will continually be updated with developments and suggestions on how stress can be managed.

NON-ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE

Non-Alcohol Fatty Liver Disease, commonly abbreviated to as NAFLD, is a chronic liver disease and linked to clinical cardiovascular disease and damage to arteries. More about NAFLD appears in the Members Section, providing information on causes, possible ways of prevention and treatment.
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The information above has been written to give an overview of each subject. Within the Members Section there is more about many conditions that are related to blood pressure. These sections will be continuously updated as new information becomes available, together with medical advances.


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