Wasim H. Raja, MD

A Closer Look at How Hypertension Affects Your Health

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They call hypertension the “silent killer” because it wrecks your health without you knowing until something bad happens. Don’t get caught off guard — learn about how high blood pressure affects your health and how to control it.

Many people don’t realize they have high blood pressure (also called hypertension) because it doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms in the early stages of the problem. But over time, the disease wreaks havoc on your whole body and leads to a long list of health problems; some are quite serious.

That’s why Dr. Wasim Raja and our team at Orange County Healthcare Center in Fountain Valley, California, check your blood pressure every time you come in and help you manage high blood pressure if it occurs. Our goal is to keep your blood pressure numbers in a healthy range and spot signs of trouble before you sustain serious damage. 

What hypertension does to your health

Hypertension occurs when the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries is consistently too high. Although that doesn’t seem so bad, over time, the constant pounding can lead to serious health problems. 

Hypertension and your heart

Hypertension makes your heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body — called hypertensive heart disease. This extra strain can lead to several heart-related issues. 

Coronary artery disease happens when the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart become narrowed or blocked, meaning you’re at risk for a heart attack. 

Heart failure occurs when your heart can’t pump enough blood to meet your body's needs. An enlarged left heart can cause shortness of breath and chest pain.

Hypertension and your brain

Your brain needs oxygen-rich blood to function, so when high blood pressure damages the network of vessels that deliver those nutrients, your brain suffers

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a mini-stroke that can cause temporary symptoms such as weakness or numbness in one part of your body. Dementia signifies that your cognitive function is declining and can affect your memory, thinking skills, and language abilities. 

A stroke happens when the blood supply to your brain is cut off, which can cause permanent brain damage. Mild cognitive impairment is when you have trouble with memory, language, or other mental functions.

Hypertension and your vascular system

It’s easy to see how hypertension can damage your blood vessels by exerting extra pressure against the walls. Here are the specific types of damage you might experience:

  • Aneurysm
  • A bulging blood vessel that could burst
  • Internal bleeding

If high blood pressure narrows your arteries and restricts your blood flow, it can damage your organs, including your brain and heart. Untreated hypertension could lead to peripheral artery disease, which can cause pain and numbness in your legs.

Hypertension and your eyes

High blood pressure can even damage your eyes:

All of these hypertensive eye diseases can lead to vision loss, but Dr. Raja can preserve your eyesight by helping you manage your blood pressure.

Hypertension and your kidneys

Your kidneys filter waste from your blood and remove excess fluids from your body. When hypertension damages these organs, they can become less efficient at filtering waste and fluids, leading to kidney failure. Hypertension-related scarring can also occur, making it harder for your kidneys to function properly.

Hypertension and sexual function

Finally, hypertension can affect your sexual health by reducing blood flow to your genitals, making it harder for men to get or maintain an erection and causing vaginal dryness and low libido in women. 

Don’t let hypertension sneak up on you, schedule a visit at Orange County Healthcare Center in Fountain Valley, California. Contact us online or call our friendly staff today to schedule a consultation.