Hypertension is an asymptomatic disease that damages your organs before any symptoms appear. In other words, you may find out you have hypertension when it is too late to do something about it, in a stage of complications that may lead to death. Thus, it’s known as “The silent killer.”
If you -as a hypertension patient- were not diagnosed early and your case was not managed the correct way, your blood pressure would reach high levels (140/90) that may cause life-threatening or disabling complications. For example, hypertension can affect the following organs:
- The blood vessels, causing narrowing or occlusion
- The heart, causing heart failure
- Your brain, decreasing the blood flow and causing stroke
- The kidneys, causing renal failure
- The eye, causing blindness.
Doctors consider these complications as emergency conditions that need urgent intervention and hospitalization. Thus, we will discuss the complications of hypertension in a simple, understandable way.
1The blood vessels, causing narrowing or occlusion
Hypertension is the increase in the pressure of the blood that runs in the blood vessels. Evidently, before affecting any organ, it will affect your blood vessels in the first place. When the blood pressure increases, it causes injury to the inner layer of your blood vessels (endothelial layer) as well as the middle layer of muscles. These changes will affect the nature of the blood vessel lining, such as the elastic nature that allows blood vessels to adapt to blood pressure changes and maintain blood flow to the organs. Also, this injury leads to the formation of thrombi -due to activation of the coagulation system- that occlude the blood vessels or narrow them down. These effects result in a condition called: “atherosclerosis”.
This progressive damage of your blood vessels will affect the rest of your organs and cause several complications associated with hypertension. For example, it can affect your heart through the coronary arteries, your kidney through the renal arteries, your brain through the cerebral arteries, and the retina in your eye through retinal arteries.