High Blood Pressure: 7 Deadly Impacts

Many call high blood pressure “the silent killer” for a reason. It may not cause any serious problems for many years…until it does. Elevated blood pressure alters the cardiovascular system over time, causing gradual damage. This can cause sudden deadly consequences that seem to come out of nowhere. But in reality, these conditions can build momentum over a long period.

Pharmaceuticals may bring down your blood pressure numbers. But they aren’t a true safeguard against other related health risks and only cover up the problem. By treating the root causes of high blood pressure, you stand the best chance of reversing this devastating condition.

Heart attack

Heart attacks are one of the most fatal outcomes of high blood pressure. They’re responsible for over half of all cardiovascular deaths. A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, happens when there is a blockage in blood flow to the heart. 

Because of oxygen deprivation, the heart muscle may not be able to pump blood as well. Heart attacks can cause sudden death or long-term damage to the cardiovascular system.

Hypertension causes heart attacks by altering the structure of blood vessels over time. Research shows that elevated blood pressure causes atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, and arterial stiffness. These changes build, resulting in the blockages responsible for heart attacks. 

Stroke

Strokes are a leading cause of death and disability. In fact, every four minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from a stroke. Strokes occur when there are blockages in the arteries supplying blood to the brain. This lack of blood supply deprives the brain of oxygen and nutrients. 

Within minutes, brain cells can start dying off, possibly resulting in permanent brain damage. Signs of a stroke include vision loss, numbness, lack of coordination, confusion, and headaches.  Severe strokes can have long-lasting effects on motor skills, speech, cognitive ability, and more. 

Hypertensive individuals have a four times higher risk of stroke than those with normal blood pressure. Endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffness caused by high blood pressure increase the risk of arterial blockages. High blood pressure is also linked with a higher mortality rate and risk of a repeat stroke.

Heart failure

Heart failure is another leading cause of hospitalization and death. Heart failure doesn’t mean that the heart suddenly stops working. It’s usually a condition that progresses over time and could require lifelong management.

Heart failure occurs when the heart can’t pump blood effectively and starts to work harder, leading to an enlarged heart and fluid buildup throughout the body. Congestive heart failure causes severe respiratory problems since fluid can back up into the lungs.

Hypertension is a significant contributor to heart failure. Elevated blood pressure can increase vascular resistance, putting the heart into overdrive. Over time, this can lead to thickening of the heart muscle and progression towards heart failure. Effective treatment of hypertension can reduce the risk of heart failure by 87 percent.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the body’s ability to convert sugar into energy. Untreated diabetes can lead to severe complications such as nerve damage, kidney failure, blindness, and a higher risk for severe infections.

Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease have many overlapping root causes and risk factors. Research supports that high blood pressure increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, over two-thirds of people with type 2 diabetes have underlying hypertension. If you have both conditions, you’re at a much higher risk of death, which is why it’s essential to treat both simultaneously.

Atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most commonly diagnosed abnormal heart rhythm. Electrical signals control the pumping mechanism in the heart. With AFib, these signals misfire, causing a fast-paced quivering heartbeat. 

Without effective contractions, the heart can’t move blood through the body properly. This can cause blood to pool in the heart, potentially leading to the development of a blood clot, which can be life-threatening if it travels to the heart or lungs.

High blood pressure increases the risk of atrial fibrillation, especially in older adults. Hypertension may cause thickening of the heart walls, sympathetic activation, and oxidative stress, all contributing to the development of AFib. 

Kidney failure

Kidneys have the critical job of filtering blood and maintaining fluid balance in the body. When the kidneys take on injury, they can’t do their job, leading to chronic kidney disease (CKD).  This can progress to kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD). At this point, a kidney transplant or dialysis is necessary for survival.

High blood pressure is the second most common cause of kidney disease after diabetes. If the kidneys can’t filter blood properly, blood pressure may become more uncontrolled. This can lead to a vicious cycle, causing even more damage to the kidneys and possible kidney failure. It’s important to reverse hypertension as soon as possible to prevent this dangerous spiral.

Dementia

Dementia is a blanket term describing the loss of cognitive functioning, including memory, reasoning, and decision-making. Dementia isn’t inevitable. It’s possible to stay mentally sharp as you age, and your heart health can play a major role in this.

There are several different types of dementia with varying causes and risk factors. Vascular dementia is the second most common type of dementia and can be caused by high blood pressure and stroke. When blood flow to the brain is blocked, brain cells and connections die off, making this type of dementia irreversible and untreatable. Controlling blood pressure is vital, as it can aid in prevention.

Next steps

These life-threatening conditions may sound scary and complex. But the solution is simple – get blood pressure under control. Some doctors may put you on medication to control blood pressure in the short term, but this doesn’t solve the problem. 

Pharmaceuticals aren’t a complete safeguard from hypertension-related morbidities and mortality. The only way to truly protect yourself is by addressing the root causes of high blood pressure.

At Natural Heart Doctor, we know that you can reverse hypertension by addressing lifestyle factors. Eat an organic diet of real food and support your nutrition with supplements. Keep stress low, get sunshine, and move your body every day. You should also address any exposure to environmental toxins. 

Blood pressure becomes more risky and problematic the longer it remains elevated. It’s important to start making these lifestyle changes as soon as possible. You should also monitor your blood pressure daily to ensure that you’re headed in the right direction. 

Remember, without testing, figuring out what is causing high blood pressure is a shot in the dark. Our lab testing is specific and comprehensive. We can identify underlying factors such as leaky gut, nutritional deficiencies, and toxin exposure to help you get control of your blood pressure once and for all.

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 


Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD

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