High blood pressure, or hypertension, is often called the silent killer. Over time, high blood pressure can damage your body without you even experiencing symptoms. Read on to learn how complications from uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage your arteries and heart, in particular.
High blood pressure is hard on your arteries. Arteries are designed to be sturdy and springy to easily move blood from your lungs and heart, where it gets oxygen to take to your organs and other tissues. High blood pressure can damage the walls of your arteries, causing plaque to collect. The plaque narrows the arteries and makes them stiff.
Damaged arteries can lead to an aneurysm. If a section of an artery wall is weakened and it breaks, it can bleed into your body. An aneurysm can happen anywhere, but it’s most common in your aorta, which runs down the middle of your body.
When plaque builds up in the arteries close to your heart, the blood flow slows, bringing chest pain and an abnormal heart rhythm or arrhythmia. This is called coronary artery disease. When there’s a total blockage of the artery or some plaque becomes loose and blocks an artery to your heart, it can cause a heart attack. This starves the heart muscle of oxygen and vital nutrients.
High blood pressure can lead to peripheral artery disease. When plaque builds up in the blood vessels in your arms, legs, head and other areas farther from your heart, you may experience pain or cramps in your legs when you move. If left untreated, this can lead to stroke, ulcers, loss of circulation in the legs and other serious problems.
When high blood pressure causes arteries to narrow, and this can make your heart work even harder and faster over time. When the heart gets so weak that it can’t supply enough blood to the rest of the body, this is called heart failure.
When the muscle of the heart works harder and harder to move blood around, it thickens, and your heart gets larger. When a heart becomes enlarged, it’s not able to do its job as well, which means your tissues might not be getting the oxygen and vital nutrients they need.
If you are concerned about blood pressure and how it’s affecting your vascular health, contact our office at (623) 258-3255 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Zakhary. Treatment and lifestyle changes can help you control your blood pressure and reduce your risk of serious problems caused by it.