High blood pressure (hypertension) can quietly damage your body for years before symptoms develop. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to disability, a poor quality of life, or even a fatal heart attack or stroke.
Treatment and lifestyle changes can help control your high blood pressure to reduce your risk of life-threatening complications.
Here's a look at the complications uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause.
High blood pressure can cause many complications.
Healthy arteries are flexible, strong and elastic. Their inner lining is smooth so that blood flows freely, supplying vital organs and tissues with nutrients and oxygen.
Hypertension gradually increases the pressure of blood flowing through your arteries. As a result, you might have:
High blood pressure can cause many problems for your heart, including:
Your brain depends on a nourishing blood supply to work properly. But high blood pressure can cause several problems, including:
Kidneys filter excess fluid and waste from your blood — a process that requires healthy blood vessels. High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in and leading to your kidneys. Having diabetes in addition to high blood pressure can worsen the damage.
Kidney problems caused by high blood pressure include:
High blood pressure can damage the tiny, delicate blood vessels that supply blood to your eyes, causing:
The inability to have and maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction) becomes increasingly common in men as they reach age 50. But men with high blood pressure are even more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. That's because limited blood flow caused by high blood pressure can block blood from flowing to your penis.
Women can also experience sexual dysfunction as a result of high blood pressure. Reduced blood flow to the vagina can lead to a decrease in sexual desire or arousal, vaginal dryness, or difficulty achieving orgasm.
High blood pressure is usually a chronic condition that gradually causes damage over the years. But sometimes blood pressure rises so quickly and severely that it becomes a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment, often with hospitalization.
In these situations, high blood pressure can cause: