The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) has recently shown that up to 1 in 3 American adults suffer from hypertension. What’s worse? From that number, only 54% seek out treatment for the condition.
High blood pressure and hypertension can be an insidious condition to have. Not only can it affect the overall strength of your cardiovascular system—but the tangential effects can pose a serious risk to your life.
We’ll be going over just six of the ways hypertension can negatively impact your health, lower your standard of living, and prevent you from living the life you desire.
1. Vision Problems
Because high blood pressure naturally inflames and otherwise effects the blood vessels in your body, hypertension tends to wreak the most havoc in locations where those vessels are especially sensitive to change.
In your eye, thousands of blood vessels provide food and oxygen to some of the most important cells in our entire body. Hypertension works to inflame and damage these microscopic passages, and can affect your ability to see.
Those with hypertension tend to report greater issues with their eye health overall when compared to those without the condition. Likewise, hypertension over time can lead to reduced vision ability and even blindness.
2. Kidney Problems
Your kidneys are another organ in the body that relies heavily on blood and the ability to access the blood supply in your body.
Kidneys work to clear out toxins and other issues in the blood supply and filter them out of the body via the bladder. Therefore, the kidneys rely on a vast network of blood vessels to siphon the blood to their location and allow it to flow freely throughout the body after it’s been cleaned.
With hypertension, this vast network is weakened and damaged over time. Your kidneys will begin to function far below their capacity due to cell death within the kidney caused in part by poor blood supply.
The net result can be disastrous. Without the full functionality of your kidneys, you begin to radically increase your predisposition to kidney failure.
3. Sexual Dysfunction
Regardless of our sex, our sexual organs need access to a clean and healthy blood supply to function properly. In both sexes, certain parts of the body need to engorge with blood to achieve successful intercourse.
With hypertension, the blood vessels surrounding our sex organs begin to function below capacity, harden, or cease to work at all. Prolonged and untreated hypertension can lead to sexual dysfunction in both sexes, and specifically executive dysfunction in men.
Likewise, libido and overall sexual desires will decrease as well. As hypertension damages more of your body, overall desire decreases alongside the lowered access to healthy blood.
A stroke is a serious medical condition, and in some cases, life-threatening.
Strokes occur when the blood supply to our brains is either cut off or otherwise impaired—leaving brain cells to die from lack of oxygen. Malfunctioning blood vessels caused by prolonged hypertension can either wither over time to decrease blood supply to the brain or allow fat cells to clog up arteries.
In some cases, kidney failure brought on by hypertension allows your body to keep using ‘dirty blood’ and eventually create the scenario required for a stroke.
5. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD, is perhaps one of the lesser-known side effects of hypertension.
Due to the weakening arteries and blood vessels in the body, cell death and decay in certain sections of the body results in aches and pains in affected locations.
PAD can manifest itself in cramps and other painful muscle contractions in the lower body, and specifically in the legs. Since PAD isn’t well-known or well-documented, most people who suffer from PAD erroneously contribute their symptoms to aging. While it’s difficult to point to PAD as a direct sign of hypertension, seeing signs of PAD in connection with some of the other items on our list may serve to compel you to further action.
6. Heart Attack & Heart Failure
Finally, the organ most crucial our blood supply is also the most famously affected by hypertension in the body.
The inflamed and reduced capacity of blood vessels throughout the body forces our heart to work faster and build up further muscle to increase its workload. Over time, this drains your heart of its natural strength and diminishes overall capacity. This dangerous condition can eventually lead to heart failure.
The weakening blood vessels may also prove to allow dangerous obstructions near or around the heart. While the heart’s vessels are some of the largest in the body, if any of them become clogged or blocked, a heart attack may occur.
Suffering from either condition can be fatal—so if you or a loved one suspects that they’re suffering from either, call for emergency services immediately.
Hypertension alone can cause many unwanted problems and conditions the body, from standard aches and pains to vision problems. However, what’s most dangerous about hypertension is its ability to bring on even further conditions that are often quick to develop, and in some cases, fatal.
That’s why regular medication for hypertension is important, and proper diagnosis is necessary for those who suspect they are suffering from the condition. Your doctor will be able to prescribe medication that will either thin your blood or otherwise help to alleviate the negative effects of hypertension on your body.
In some cases, discounts on Xarelto and similar medication for hypertension may be available, so don’t be afraid to ask your doctor on how to best financially manage your newfound condition.
Managing hypertension is important, but preventing the condition from developing in the first place is far more beneficial. Work to alter your dietary habits and exercise routines to best leverage your body and prevent further damage from taking place.
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