We know it's hard to keep up with the demands of everyday life. However, it’s essential to make time to manage chronic health conditions, especially when it comes to high blood pressure.
At Compass Mental Health & Wellness in Houston, our team takes an integrated approach to helping our patients manage their health and wellness. If you have high blood pressure, here’s how you could be compromising your body, quality of life, and long-term health.
The basics of high blood pressure
To understand the risks that can come with high blood pressure, it helps to take a step back and review the basics.
Your body needs oxygenated blood to thrive. This life force passes through your circulatory system. Each time it beats, your heart pushes blood through a complex network of arteries, veins, and capillaries.
We measure blood pressure to find out how much blood your heart pumps and the force it puts on your blood vessel walls. When these numbers are elevated, this means your heart and blood vessels are working harder and less efficiently.
Over time, this continuous pressure can damage the delicate tissue inside your circulatory system and make it easier for LDL (bad) cholesterol to build up inside the walls of your arteries. As the cycle continues, your arteries can become even more narrow and raise your blood pressure even more, which could put you at risk for even more health complications.
The risks of high blood pressure
Ignoring high blood pressure can threaten your health in more ways than one.
As these vital blood vessels narrow, sustain damage, and lose elasticity, their ability to carry blood throughout your body can decrease. Plus, the constant pressure against a weakened artery can cause a section to bulge or enlarge. These areas, known as aneurysms, can also burst and cause life-threatening complications.
High blood pressure can lead to coronary artery disease and a thickened left ventricle (the left side of your heart). And both of these issues can increase your risk for heart attacks, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death.
Your brain can’t function properly without a healthy blood supply. So high blood pressure can trigger several complications, ranging from strokes to mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
Kidneys filter fluid and waste from your blood, and they can’t do that without healthy blood vessels. Unfortunately, high blood pressure can damage kidney-related blood vessels, which can cause scarring and even kidney failure. And these risks can increase if you have additional chronic conditions, such as diabetes.
Even the tiny blood vessels in your eyes can sustain damage from high blood pressure. And this can cause fluid buildup under your retina, retinal damage, and even optic neuropathy, which is a complication that can lead to bleeding within your eyes or vision loss.
High blood pressure can also take a toll on the sexual health of both men and women. Without healthy blood flow to the penis, men can’t achieve or maintain a healthy erection. In women, reduced blood flow to the vagina can affect arousal, desire, ability to orgasm, and cause vaginal dryness.
Managing high blood pressure
Unfortunately, high blood pressure has no symptoms, even at dangerously high levels. That makes it crucial to watch your numbers with regular physicals.
The good news is that you can manage high blood pressure. Our team takes a whole-body approach that starts with healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, and quitting smoking. If your numbers remain high, we can also prescribe medications to help bring them to safer levels.
Don’t put your health at risk. To check your blood pressure and get help if it’s too high, book an appointment online or over the phone with Compass Mental Health & Wellness today.