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High blood pressure during pregnancy can cause reduced blood flow to the placenta depriving the oxygen and nutrient supply to the growing baby. This can lead to decreased growth and low birth weight of the baby. Preeclampsia, a more severe form of high blood pressure during pregnancy,can cause passing of excessive protein in the urine and affect other vital organs leading to serious complications for the mother and baby. According to a study, high blood pressure during pregnancy could dramatically increase a woman’s risk of suffering a stroke by as high as 40 per cent.
Hypertension weakens the vessel walls causing it to bulge. This forms an aneurysm (distension or a pouch-like structure in the vessel wall) which can rupture and is invariably fatal.
High blood pressure can cause abnormalities of calcium metabolism. According to studies, it causes increased calcium elimination from the body, especially in older women. This sustained calcium loss may eventually be responsible for increased bone loss.
Hypertension increases the risk of brain haemorrhage by almost 10 times. It weakens the small vessels in the brain causing them to rupture. In fact high BP is responsible for 80% of all heart attacks and stroke.
Elevated blood pressure makes the arteries (blood carrying vessels) thick and narrow, and damage their lining (endothelium). This acts as a starting point for the formation of a clot which can grow and block the blood supply to the heart. When there isn’t enough blood supply to the heart, its efficiency is reduced and the tissues are damaged leading to angina (chest pain). The tendency to develop coronary artery disease is more if you have other risk factors like diabetes, obesity and family history of heart disease.
High blood pressure and sleep are interrelated. According to research, people with high blood pressure are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep leading to disrupted sleep and daytime tiredness. Studies have also shown that severe OSA contributes to resistant hypertension, i.e. poor blood pressure control in spite of aggressive use of anti-hypertensive drugs.
When the blood pressure is high it increases the workload of the heart and the heart has to pump the blood against this elevated pressure and in this process the heart has the work more. The heart pays the price of this hard work by thickening its muscle wall especially the left ventricle and many times this thick hear t(hypertrophied) may not be able to pump enough blood to the different organs thus compromising the body needs and eventually leading to heart failure.
Even your kidneys are not spared. Damage to the small vessels in the kidney due to elevated blood pressure reduces the blood supply to it. The kidney starts losing its normal functions like regulating the body fluid, hormones, salts, etc.and also regulating the blood pressure. This eventually leads to kidney failure.
Untreated longstanding high blood pressure can affect the blood vessels in your extremities too. It can narrow down and harden the blood vessels of the legs leading to a condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD can affect the blood circulation in the leg and cause painful cramps.
The arteries supplying the penis can get narrowed leading to reduced blood supply and erectile dysfunction in males.
Blood vessels in the eye (retinal vessels) are narrowed and the vision can get impaired leading to retinopathy and eventually blindness.