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The Negative Impacts of Long-Term High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also referred to as the silent killer because of its invisible symptoms, can quietly cause severe damage to your body for years before irreversible consequences are noticed. If left uncontrolled, long-term high blood pressure can result in a poor quality of life, disability, or even a fatal heart attack. Fortunately, with lifestyle changes, supplements, and treatment, you can manage your blood pressure and reduce the risk of life-threatening complications.

Complications from Long-Term High Blood Pressure

Healthy arteries are elastic, strong, and flexible. The smooth inner lining permits blood to flow freely and supply vital tissues and crucial organs with necessary oxygen and nutrients. If you have been suffering from high blood pressure for a long time, the increased pressure of the blood flowing through your arteries can gradually cause a variety of conditions and damage to your heart, brain, kidneys, eyes, and more.

  • Damage to your heart.

    • Heart failure.The added strain on your heart caused by long-term high blood pressure can cause the muscle to work less efficiently and weaken. Eventually, your overwhelmed heart simply wears out and begins to fail. Damage from heart attacks adds more stress to this condition.

    • Coronary artery disease. Arteries blocked by coronary artery disease cannot enable blood to flow freely. When blood doesn’t reach your heart, you may experience irregular heart rhythms, chest pain, or a heart attack.

    • Enlarged left heart. Long-term high blood pressure forces your heart to work harder than necessary to pump blood throughout your body. This result is stiffening or thickening of the left ventricle and increased risk of heart failure, heart attack, and sudden cardiac death.

  • Damage to your brain.

    • Mild cognitive impairment.Mild cognitive impairment can occur when blood flow to the brain is blocked as a result of long-term high blood pressure damage to the arteries.

    • Transient ischemic attack. Sometimes referred to as a mini-stroke, TIA is a temporary, brief disruption of blood supply to your brain. It's often caused by a blood clot or clogged arteries, both of which can happen as a result of high blood pressure.

    • Dementia can result from blocked or narrowed arteries that supply blood to the brain.

    • High blood pressure can also cause blood clots to form in the arteries leading to your brain, blocking blood flow and potentially causing a stroke. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke by weakening and damaging the blood vessels in your brain, causing them to leak or rupture.

  • Damage to your kidneys.

    • Kidney scarring. Tiny clusters of blood vessels in your kidneys filter waste and fluid from your blood. Scarring can leave your kidneys incapable of filtering effectively, leading to kidney failure.

    • Kidney artery aneurysm. Atherosclerosis, which weakens and damages the artery walls, can result in a kidney artery aneurysm.

    • Kidney failure.High blood pressure, one of the most common causes of kidney failure, damages the large arteries leading to your kidneys and the tiny blood vessels within the kidneys.

  • Damage to your eyes.

    • Eye blood vessel damage. The effects of long-term high blood pressure on the eyes and the vessels supplying blood to your retina include blurred vision, bleeding in the eye, and complete loss of vision.

    • Nerve damage. Blocked blood flow to the optic nerve kill nerve cells in your eyes, creating bleeding within your eye or total vision loss.

    • Fluid buildup under the retina. When a leaky blood vessel results in fluid build up in a layer of blood vessels located under your retina, the result is scarring that distorts or impairs vision.

  • Sexual dysfunction.

    • While erectile dysfunction is common in men around age 50, It is even more likely to result if they have long-term high blood pressure.

    • Women may also experience sexual dysfunction as a side effect of high blood pressure because of reduced blood flow to the vagina.

  • Other possible dangers of high blood pressure.

    • Trouble sleeping.More than half of people with long-term high blood pressure also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep deprivation as a result of sleep apnea can increase your blood pressure.

    • Bone loss.Long-term high blood pressure creates excessive elimination of calcium in the urine, resulting in reduced bone density and frequently broken bones.

Keep in mind these are not symptoms of hypertension; it is a symptom-less disease.

Non-Pharmacologic Strategies for Managing High Blood Pressure

While medication and lifestyle modifications are recommended for all patients with high blood pressure, non-pharmacologic strategies can help lower blood pressure. When it comes to natural supplements, there are a variety available that safely and effectively lower blood pressure, such as:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Coenzyme Q10

  • Grape seed

  • Olive oil

  • Cocoa

  • Linoleic acid

  • Vitamin D

  • Magnesium

  • Taurine

There are a variety of natural options available, including those related to lifestyle, exercise, and diet, along with PurMEDIA's Systolex. However, keep in mind there’s a good chance you may not even know you have high-blood pressure.