The Dangers of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure affects nearly 67 million Americans, but unfortunately, 31 million of those don’t have their hypertension managed, increasing their risk of developing complications from high blood pressure. As an experienced cardiologist, Dr. Henock Saint-Jacques can help you manage your blood pressure levels through medication and lifestyle modifications.

If you already know you have high blood pressure (or you have concerns about it), we recommend you visit Harlem Cardiology in East Harlem, New York.

In the meantime, this article will explore the dangers of high blood pressure and what we can do to safely regulate your numbers.

The hidden danger of high blood pressure

One of the most dangerous aspects of hypertension is that you might not even realize you have it. Hypertension is often asymptomatic, and you might feel any symptoms. Some people only learn they have high blood pressure when their blood pressure readings come back higher than normal during routine exams. 

Although you might not feel any different, that doesn’t mean your body isn’t affected. When you have high blood pressure, the pressure (or force) of your blood flowing through your body is too high. This increased pressure can put more pressure on the walls of your blood vessels. Eventually, the sustained high pressure damages your blood vessels. Damaged blood vessel tissues make your heart work hard (although still less efficiently). 

How high pressure damages your vessels

You might wonder how increased pressure on your blood vessels harms them. Over time, small tears can form as a result of the increased pressure. LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) can contribute to plaque formations inside these tears, and plaque-clogged arteries can make your blood pressure even higher. 

4 dangerous complications of untreated high blood pressure

As plaque continues to build up, you might develop atherosclerosis. The thick waxy buildups don’t just increase your blood pressure, but they can pose other threats to your health as well. When a piece of plaque breaks off, it can cause a clot, leading to increased risk of the following conditions:

  1. Stroke
  2. Heart attack
  3. Kidney disease
  4. Heart failure

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1,000 Americans die each day for conditions linked to hypertension. For these reasons, high blood pressure is frequently referred to as the “silent killer.” 

What to do if you have high blood pressure

A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80, and a slightly elevated reading is 120-129/80. If you have elevated blood pressure — but not quite hypertension — you might have prehypertension. 

If you know you already have hypertension, you require medical attention to safely lower your blood pressure levels. Even if you have prehypertension, you can receive medical care to help prevent prehypertension from turning into hypertension. Dietary changes, increased exercise, stress management, and the cessation of smoking are all healthy lifestyle changes that support your heart health.

Reading about the dangers of untreated hypertension can be intimidating and even scary. The good news is that hypertension is easily (and painlessly) diagnosed. Here at Harlem Cardiology, we take cardiac health seriously. Once we diagnose hypertension, we work hard to manage your high blood pressure through medications and lifestyle changes. 

Additionally, Dr. Saint-Jacques can assess your heart to see if there is any damage from high blood pressure. Electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, and Doppler ultrasound are all available in our office.

To learn more about high blood pressure management, give us a call at 646-381-218. You can also book an appointment at our East Harlem, New York, practice via our website today.

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