High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a common condition that affects one in three adults in the United States, according to the CDC. It is often called a silent killer because it often has no symptoms but can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other organs.
Uncontrolled hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a condition where your blood pressure remains consistently elevated and is not effectively managed or regulated. Blood pressure is generated when blood flows and pushes against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps it throughout your body.
The unit for measuring blood pressure is millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and it is expressed in systolic (top) and diastolic (bottom) numbers. Normal blood pressure is generally considered less than or at 120/80 mm Hg.
Hypertension is defined when your average arterial blood pressure is 130/80 mmHg or higher. This condition will progressively damage the walls of your arteries, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood through your body.
Uncontrolled hypertension is when you have chronically elevated blood pressure throughout the day, which is not effectively regulated or managed. This typically happens when the person is not taking medication to control their blood pressure or when the hypertension is resistant to treatment and hence is not being controlled.
Here's how uncontrolled hypertension and its effects on the body can be understood:
Increased Cardiovascular Risk: Uncontrolled hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure. The condition narrows the arteries and makes them less flexible, putting extra strain on the heart to pump blood. Over time, this can damage the heart and blood vessels.
Damage to Blood Vessels: High blood pressure can cause the walls of the arteries to become thicker and less elastic. This condition, known as atherosclerosis, can lead to the narrowing and hardening of arteries. Narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to vital organs and can lead to complications such as kidney disease, peripheral artery disease, and aneurysms.
Increased Risk of Stroke: Uncontrolled hypertension can cause the weakening of blood vessel walls in the brain, making them more prone to rupture or clot formation. This increases the risk of strokes, both ischemic (caused by a blood clot) and hemorrhagic (caused by a ruptured blood vessel).
Kidney Damage: The kidneys play a crucial role in regulating blood pressure. Persistent high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, reducing their ability to filter waste and excess fluids from the body. This can lead to kidney disease and even kidney failure over time.
Vision Problems: Hypertension can affect the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to eye problems and even vision loss. It can increase the risk of conditions like hypertensive retinopathy.
Cognitive Impairment: Some research suggests that uncontrolled hypertension may contribute to cognitive decline and an increased risk of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Heart Problems: Chronic hypertension can result in an enlarged heart, a condition known as left ventricular hypertrophy. An enlarged heart is less efficient and can lead to heart failure over time.
Other Complications: Uncontrolled hypertension can lead to sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction in men. It may also affect other organs and systems in the body, including the nervous and endocrine systems.
It's important to note that uncontrolled hypertension often does not cause noticeable symptoms until it has already caused significant damage to the body. Regular blood pressure monitoring and management are crucial for preventing these adverse effects. Lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and medication prescribed by a healthcare provider, are typical approaches to controlling hypertension and reducing its impact on the body.
If you have concerns about your blood pressure, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and management. Don't hesitate to schedule an appointment with Altimate Care & Services to discuss your specific needs and concerns.