Untreated Hypertension

Transcript

Maj West
If a person has high blood pressure that isn’t diagnosed or treated, they can experience long-term complications with the heart, kidneys, eyes, and even the brain.

One of the dangers of untreated hypertension is atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries due to plaque build-up. This can eventually lead to a heart attack. This occurs gradually as people age, even if they don’t have high blood pressure, but having high blood pressure tends to speed up the process.

Atherosclerosis can lead to other complications, such as coronary artery disease, which can weaken the heart muscle. When arteries become hardened or narrowed, the heart muscle can’t get the blood and oxygen it needs. It also makes the heart work harder to pump blood through the arteries to supply the rest of the body with blood. When the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, it’s called congestive heart failure.

Lt Col Reynolds
Untreated hypertension can also affect the kidneys. Your kidneys are continually working to filter your blood and control the volume of fluids in your body. High blood pressure can damage the kidney by decreasing its ability to filter out substances from the blood, or to control fluid volume in the body.

Hypertension can also affect the brain by increasing the chance of having a stroke. Strokes happen when blood flow to the brain stops. A stroke can cause varying degrees of paralysis, speech problems, vision loss, and if it’s severe enough, even death.

Over time, high blood pressure can lead to problems with vision. As the arteries in the back part of the eye thicken and blood supply becomes restricted, patients may experience some vision loss. This is called hypertensive retinopathy.