When you have high blood pressure or hypertension (as it is also called), every blood vessel and every part and organ in the body is experiencing a higher pressure of blood flowing through it. And this does not happen without causing damage.

High blood pressure complications set in overtime, especially when the condition is long-standing and uncontrolled. You cannot ignore these dangers because their effects are very serious.

The harmful effects of high blood pressure on the body are dangerous and serious and can extend to various organs of the body. To make matters worse, high blood pressure is many a time not noticed and is detected when your physician notices it, when he takes your blood pressure or when symptoms of high blood pressure manifest themselves. High blood pressure, therefore, is referred to as the silent killer.

Complications of high blood pressure

We shall enumerate below the high blood pressure complications and their effects on the various organs of the body.

1. Complications of high blood pressure on the brain

Due to higher blood pressure than normal, the small arteries in the brain burst as their walls cannot withstand the high pressure of blood inside them resulting in hemorrhage. A clot may also form in the artery,  which may block the blood supply to a part of the brain. This is called a cerebrovascular accident and results in paralysis of one-half of the body. This condition is called hemiplegia. Confusion, headache and convulsions are other complications that  occur.

2. Complications to eyes

Similarly, damage to the arteries supplying the eyes, can cause retinopathy or even blindness. Damage to the blood vessels in the tissue at the back of the eye (retina) can lead to bleeding in the eye, blurred vision, and complete loss of vision.

3. Complications on the heart

As the heart has to pump blood against a higher pressure in the arteries, it has to take that extra effort to comply with body requirement of blood. Over time, this extra effort results in the hypertrophy of  heart muscle causing left ventricular hypertrophy. High blood pressure  can also result in heart failure or a heart attack.

4. Complications of high blood pressure on kidneys

As a result of high pressure in the arteries, the walls become thickened   due to the deposit of hyaline and the lumen of the renal artery becomes narrow. The supply of blood to the kidneys reduces and the kidneys atrophy. The presence of blood in the urine (hematuria) and protein (proteinuria) is  detected. Ultimately there is kidney failure if adequate action is not taken.

5. Complications on arteries

High blood pressure is a predisposing factor for the deposits on the inner walls leading to atherosclerosis. Peripherally, this results in  reduced  blood supply to the legs causing pain in the legs, which can get very severe at times.

6. Aneurysm of the arteries

This is another high blood pressure complication and can be life threatening if the aneurysm bursts. An aneurysm is the ballooning of the wall of the artery.

7. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)

PAD is a common condition where a build-up of fatty plaques in the arteries hinders blood supply to leg muscles. It’s also known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD).

The person experiences pain in the legs on walking, which usually disappears after a few minutes’ rest. The medical term for this is “intermittent claudication”.

The pain can range from mild to severe and usually stops after resting your legs for a few minutes.

Action Step: Having seen the seriousness of high blood pressure complications and also how this condition can be a silent killer, it becomes essential that you monitor your blood pressure regularly. This will help you to treat it in its early stages and prevent complications..