Every time you walk into a doctor’s office, the odds are good that someone will measure your blood pressure. The primary reason doctors want this information is due to the potentially life-threatening complications that arise from having hypertension.
Unfortunately, nearly half of adults in the United States have hypertension, and less than a quarter of these people have the condition under control.
As heart health experts, Dr. Madaiah Revana and the team here at Humble Cardiology Associates want to help our patients effectively manage their blood pressure.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is through education, which is why we’re focusing on the dangers of hypertension in this month’s blog post.
Hypertension and cardiovascular risks
When you have hypertension, you’re at far greater risk for heart attack or stroke — the two leading causes of death in the US.
To give you an idea of the seriousness of this danger, 670,000 deaths in 2020 cited hypertension as a primary or contributing factor.
When your blood pressure is high, it means that the blood flowing through your arteries is placing too much pressure on these delicate vessels. This constant pressure damages the linings of your arteries, especially your coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels that bring oxygenated blood to your heart muscle.
Over time, the damage in your coronary arteries can lead to atherosclerosis, which is plaque buildup that narrows the blood vessels. As a result, your heart may not be getting the oxygen it needs, which can lead to heart attack. As well, the plaque buildup also creates an environment in which blood clots can form, which can lead to a stroke if the clot breaks free.
Hypertension and other health complications
Outside of the clear and present danger that hypertension creates in terms of heart disease, this condition can also lead to other health issues, including:
The blood vessels in your eyes are extremely small and sensitive and hypertension can easily damage these vessels, resulting in vision loss.
If your hypertension damages the blood vessels in your kidneys, the organs lose their ability to filter your blood properly, and kidney disease can develop.
Sexual dysfunction in men
In order to have an erection, you must have good blood flow to your penis. If you have hypertension, this flow may be compromised, as well as your ability to achieve an erection.
Managing your blood pressure
There is some good news when it comes to hypertension — the condition is reversible. In fact, the CDC reports that 200,000 deaths due to heart disease or stroke each year are preventable.
If you’re at risk for cardiovascular disease or other health issues due to hypertension, we can help you take steps to get your blood pressure down, which will likely include:
- A change in diet, including less salt
- More exercise
- Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or losing weight
The best way to find out which steps you should take is to schedule an appointment with us at one of our two offices in Humble or Houston, Texas. To get started, simply click here.