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Why is High Blood Pressure Important?

Why is High Blood Pressure Important?

High blood pressure can hurt your body in many ways. It adds to the workload of your heart and arteries. Because your heart is a muscle,  like any other muscle, when it works harder than normal for a long time, it tends to get bigger. A slightly bigger heart may work well, but if it's enlarged too much, it may have a hard time meeting your body's demands.   Also a higher blood flow pressure in your arteries will put wear and tear on them an dmake them weak, making you susceptible to tears.

High blood pressure is the No. 1 modifiable risk factor for stroke. It contributes to heart attacks, heart failure, kidney failure and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It has also been known to cause blindness. Recent studies show that in adults 40–89, the risk of death from heart disease and stroke begins to rise at blood pressures as low as 115/75. The risk doubles for each increased increment of 20 mmHg in systolic blood pressure or 10 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure. Elevated systolic blood pressure indicates a more important risk than diastolic blood pressure except in patients younger than 50. The relationship of blood pressure levels to the risk of cardiovascular disease is continuous, consistent and independent of other risk factors. The higher the blood pressure, the greater is the chance for heart attack, heart failure, stroke and kidney disease.

In clinical trials it has been shown that by lowering blood pressure to acceptable levels:
  • Stroke incidence can be reduced by an average of 35–40 percent.
  • Heart attack incidence can be reduced by an average of 20–25 percent.
  • Heart failure incidence can be reduced by an average of more than 50 percent.
Arteries and arterioles (small arteries) also suffer the effects of higher blood pressure. As you grow older, your arteries will harden and become less elastic. This occurs gradually in all people, even if they don't have high blood pressure. But having high blood pressure tends to speed up this process.

Arterial damage is bad because hardened or narrowed arteries may not be able to supply the amount of blood the body’s organs need. And if the body's organs don't get enough blood (and the oxygen and nutrients it delivers), they can't work properly. Another risk is that a blood clot may lodge in an artery narrowed by fatty deposits, depriving part of the body of its normal blood supply.

If you have high blood pressure, follow your doctor's advice. Most high blood pressure can't be cured, but it usually can be controlled. And its effects can be prevented or reduced — if it's treated and controlled early, and kept under control.
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