High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when blood flows through the blood vessels with excessive force, which is not considered healthy. This can damage the artery and blood vessel walls, resulting in dangerous complications that can gradually affect other vital organs.
Before jumping to the main subject, it is important to know how our blood system regulates throughout the body.
What is Circulatory System?
When our heart pumps blood into our blood vessels, the main arteries transport it to vital organs throughout our body to nourish and sustain them. Unfortunately, if the blood pressure increases, the walls of arteries start to erode gradually.
As the walls of the arteries weaken, bad cholesterol begins to flow through the bloodstream and attach itself to any tears. Over time, this buildup of cholesterol narrows the passage and makes it difficult for blood to flow through.
When an artery is blocked, the organ it should reach is damaged due to a short supply of blood flow. This can result in chest pain, irregular heartbeat, or a heart attack when it occurs in the heart.
Due to this, the heart pumps harder than usual but is less effective with a high flow of blood and blocked arteries. Eventually, the extra work leads to an enlarged left ventricle, the part of the heart that pumps blood to the body. This also puts you at a higher risk of having a heart attack.
Impact Of Hypertension On Other Organs:
1. Heart Failure
When your heart becomes weak and worn out from high blood pressure and working hard, it stops being able to pump blood through your body effectively. Signs of heart failure include:
- Shortness of breath
- Swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, or abdomen
2. Nervous System
Blood flowing to the brain can be restricted due to high blood pressure, it can significantly affect cognitive function. This can lead to issues with memory and thinking, such as difficulty recalling information or comprehending. It may also cause a lack of focus during conversations.
The same damage that high blood pressure causes to arteries in the heart also happens to the passage of the brain. When the flow to the brain is severely blocked, it results in a stroke.
Blood vessels from the brain that are directly attached to the eyes can also be damaged. If they burst or bleed, it can cause vision difficulties, like blurriness or blindness.
3. Respiratory System
Arteries in the lungs can also be damaged when the artery that carries fatty blood to your lungs gets blocked. That is called a pulmonary embolism, where the clotting of blood occurs.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by loud snoring and breathing interruptions during sleep, leading to feelings of fatigue upon waking.
4. Kidney Damage
The kidneys are vital organs that eliminate waste from the blood, regulate blood volume and pressure, and filter waste through urine. To perform these functions effectively, they require healthy blood vessels. However, if you have high blood pressure, the larger blood vessels leading to the kidneys and the smaller vessels within the kidneys can become damaged, which impairs their filtering ability. This condition is known as kidney disease and can ultimately result in kidney failure.
Hypertension plays a significant role in slowing down the functions of the organs mentioned above. Initially, the symptoms are not noticeable. That is why it is suggested by cardiologists to practice healthy habits and adopt a healthy lifestyle, like regular exercise and having a balanced diet.
Monitor your blood pressure regularly and keep track of your readings. This will help your doctor manage high blood pressure and help you to go through this.