From brain to kidney; Effects of high blood pressure on the body


Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Among them, the biggest risk factor is high blood pressure or hypertension. Hypertension occurs when your blood flows through your blood vessels with more force than necessary. Because of this, the walls of arteries and blood vessels are damaged over time.

If the condition is not controlled and treated, it can lead to major problems, even death. This common condition has dangerous effects not only on the heart but also on various parts of the body.

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers, i.e. systolic and diastolic pressure.

Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure of the arteries when the heart is beating, while diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure of the arteries when the heart is at rest between beats.

A normal blood pressure level is lower than 120/80 mmHg. Regardless of your age, you should always take steps to keep yours blood pressure levels within normal limits.

In general, hypertension is asymptomatic until they begin to experience serious complications. This is why it is always advised to check your blood pressure at regular intervals.

Different parts of the body affected by hypertension

Nerve system

Because high blood pressure blocks the arteries, it reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to various parts of the body, including the brain. This causes memory loss as well as problems related to thinking. The damage that high blood pressure does to the heart’s arteries can also happen to the arteries in the brain. When a part of the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen and blood, brain cells can begin to die, resulting in neurological symptoms including blurred vision, headaches, nausea and seizures.

When your brain arteries become excessively blocked, it leads to a stroke.

Effect on the eyes

High blood pressure affects the small blood vessels in your eyes because hypertension limits the flow of blood and oxygen in these arteries. This blockage can cause optic nerve damage and retinopathy. Retinopathy is a condition in which the blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue of the retina, located at the back of your eye, are damaged. Both of these conditions, if not treated properly, can lead to bleeding in the eyes, blurred vision and blindness.

Cardiovascular system

The damage from high blood pressure may seem small in the initial stages, but it grows over time. Our circulatory system includes four main components, namely the heart, arteries, veins and blood. Hypertension affects the circulatory system by damaging the arteries, making them less elastic and reducing the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart.

This restricted blood flow forces blood vessels to work harder and more efficiently, causing tissue or organ damage which in turn leads to heart disease.

Respiratory system

Like the arteries in the brain and heart, pulmonary arteries can also be damaged and blocked by high blood pressure. When blood flow is restricted to the lungs, it causes a pulmonary embolism. It is a condition where one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs becomes blocked. The condition is very serious and requires immediate medical attention to prevent complications.

This blockage of blood flow to the lungs also causes an aneurysm. An aneurysm is a condition in which an abnormal protrusion of blood vessels occurs.

Recent studies have noted that sleep apnea (a sleep disorder in which a person snores and breathes loudly during the night) is associated with high blood pressure because a large number of people diagnosed with sleep apnea have a history of high blood pressure.

Harmful effects on the kidneys

The kidneys are one of the most important organs in the body that play a significant role in removing toxins, waste, acid and excess fluid from the body in order to maintain a perfect balance of water, salt and minerals such as calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and other substances in the blood. . High blood pressure damages the large blood vessels of the kidney and the small blood vessels inside the kidney in many ways. When blood flow and oxygen are blocked, it prevents the kidneys from performing their role effectively, resulting in kidney disease.

Effects on reproductive organs

Erectile dysfunction or ED is the most common cause of male infertility which can be greatly affected by hypertension. As with other parts of the body, when due to high blood pressure the blood flow to the penis is limited, it causes the male reproductive organ to malfunction and therefore leads to impotence where the man is unable to achieve an erection or maintain it long enough for sexual intercourse.

Similar to men, women can also be affected and may experience sexual dysfunction due to hypertension. Reduced blood flow to the vagina can lead to low libido, vaginal dryness, and even difficulties in achieving orgasm.

Final thoughts

Hypertension is a very common phenomenon nowadays and it can affect people of all ages. As high blood pressure slowly causes damage and symptoms will begin to appear when it reaches a serious stage, it is important to practice healthy habits, engage in physical exercise and eat a diet low in sugar, salt and unhealthy fats.

In addition, people should also keep an eye on their healthy blood pressure levels and get them checked regularly.

Hypertension is not something that cannot be treated. If you manage it well and are aware of your healthy systolic and diastolic blood pressure range, it is beneficial for both you and your doctor to control the damage it can cause to your body.

Avoid these complications associated with high blood pressure by opting for a regular full body check-up which will make you aware of your body’s vital functions and help you keep them under control by taking necessary precautions in time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

P1. What effect does hypertension have on the body?


Hypertension blocks the flow of blood and oxygen to the small and large blood vessels inside the body, thereby affecting different parts of the body.

Q2. How does hypertension affect the nervous system?


High blood pressure restricts the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain which in turn affects the brain and causes cognitive impairment.

Q3. What three things can hypertension cause?


Hypertension can cause heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, kidney problems, eye problems and many other health problems.

Q4. What is the greatest risk for hypertension?


An unhealthy diet, including excessive salt consumption, fatty and trans-fatty foods, and low intake of fruits and vegetables, are major risk factors for hypertension.

P5. How long can you live with high blood pressure?


There is no set number for your life expectancy, but studies have shown that while someone may not live as long as someone without hypertension, it is possible to live longer if blood pressure is well controlled.

Written by: Anjali Dharra

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