Life Saving Reasons to Monitor Your Blood Pressure
By Christy Powers, FNP, CBN
What is blood pressure? Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the side of blood vessel walls or arteries. Arteries carry blood from the heart to other organs and parts of the body. Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Abnormally high pressure on your artery walls can damage your blood vessels and even organs in your body.
Blood pressure that is very high or not controlled can lead to:
1. Heart attack or stroke. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to hardening and thickening of the arteries called arteriosclerosis. The blood circulation could become decreased to an area of the heart or brain from a clogged and narrow vessel. This blood vessel could become totally blocked causing death of tissue in that area of the heart or brain not being circulated with oxygen and nutrients.
2. Aneurysm. Blood vessels can weaken and bulge to form an aneurysm. An aneurysm is widening of the artery from pressure of blood on weakened tissues. The widened artery forms a sac containing blood that can be clotted. If an aneurysm ruptures, this can be life-threatening.
3. Heart failure. Your heart muscle may thicken and work harder to effectively pump blood throughout your body. When your heart lags behind in its job of moving blood well throughout your body, fluid can back up. Then organs do not get as much blood as they need.
4. Kidney disease. The job of the kidneys is to filter the blood, remove waste, excess salt and water. Weakened and narrow blood vessels in your kidneys can decrease the filtering ability. When the kidneys stop working as well as they should, kidney disease develops.
5. Eye disease. The orange-red background membrane, the vision reception layer, of the eye is called the retina. The retina contains structures including retinal vessels of veins and arteries. Thickened, narrowed and/or torn blood vessels caused from high blood pressure can result in vision loss, even blindness.