What do you worry about most on a daily basis? Waking up on time. Remembering to lock your car. Trying to eat healthier. Finding time to exercise. What about high blood pressure?
It’s not surprising that something referred to as a “silent killer” fails to rank high on the list of things that concern us most on a day-to-day basis.
Usually the warnings about high blood pressure – also referred to as hypertension – contain terms like “when left untreated,” “damage over time” and “long-term effects.”
But considering the extensive damage it can cause – ranging from poor quality of life to disabilities and even death – the dangers of high blood pressure in your daily life should be on everyone’s mind. So, what exactly should you be concerned about?
Damage to Your Eyes
Since tiny blood vessels supply blood to your eyes, any damage to them can cause bleeding, blurred vision and even total blindness. From blocked blood flow damaging the optic nerve to fluid buildup under the retina due to a leaky blood vessel, high blood pressure can wreak havoc on your eyes and cause permanent impairment.
Since your kidneys filter excess fluid and waste from your blood, they need healthy blood vessels to work properly. Damage by hypertension to your blood vessels both inside and leading to your kidneys can cause scarring, aneurysms and eventually totally failure. When your kidneys can’t operate correctly, dangerous levels of fluid and waste can accumulate and result in your having to go on dialysis or require a transplant.
High blood pressure damages the lining of your blood vessels and causes your arteries to harden and narrow, limiting blood flow. For men, this decreased blood flow can make it difficult to achieve and maintain erections, while for women it can lead to a drop in sexual desire or arousal, vaginal dryness and even difficulty in achieving an orgasm.
One of the symptoms of high blood pressure is a rise in the amount of calcium in your urine. The loss of calcium can lead to a decrease in your bone density – also known as osteoporosis – and an increase in broken bones.
More than half of those suffering from blood pressure experience a condition called obstructive sleep apnea where the muscles in your throw relax, causing them to snore loudly and wake frequently. To make matters worse, sleep deprivation caused by sleep apnea can raise your blood pressure, making it a dangerous double-edged sword.
Heart Attack, Stroke and Death
Nearly half of the people living with untreated hypertension die of heart disease related to poor blood flow, while another third die of stroke. Add in aneurysms, damaged arteries and enlarged hearts, and the consequences of high blood pressure can be severe and life-threatening.