Effects of High Blood Pressure on the Body

Updated on March 5, 2022

High blood pressure is the silent killer. Also known as hypertension, it often has no symptoms until it’s too late. The CDC reports more than 45% or over 115 million Americans 18 and older have high blood pressure. Of that number, only one in four has a diagnosis and control of their condition. Regular health checks after age 40 are essential, especially if you have a family history of high blood pressure.

What is High Blood Pressure?

Blood pressure is the force exerted by blood against the walls of arteries. The higher the pressure, the harder your heart will pump and the less blood flow to your organs.

It’s measured by two numbers: systolic and diastolic. The systolic number is the pressure when your heart contracts and pushes blood out. The diastolic number is the pressure when your heart relaxes and fills with blood.

When both numbers are high, it’s called hypertension (high blood pressure).

  • Normal blood pressure is below 120/80.
  • Prehypertension is a systolic pressure of 120-129 or a diastolic pressure of 80-89.
  • Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure of 130-139 or a diastolic pressure of 80-89.
  • Stage 2 hypertension is a systolic pressure of 140 or higher, or a diastolic pressure of 90 or higher.

If your BP is over 180, with or without a diastolic pressure reading of 120 or higher, contact your doctor immediately. This is a hypertensive crisis.

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Several factors can contribute to high blood pressure:

  • Age: The risk of hypertension increases as you get older.
  • Race: African Americans are more likely to have hypertension than other races.
  • Gender: Men are more likely to have hypertension than women.
  • Family history: High blood pressure can run in families.
  • Sodium: Too much salt in your diet can cause high blood pressure.
  • Alcohol: Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure.
  • Obesity: Being overweight increases your risk of hypertension.
  • Stress: Stress can raise your blood pressure.

Overall, your lifestyle and wellness are the most significant deciding factors in your blood pressure.

How Does High Blood Pressure Affect The Body?

Although hypertension by itself causes few to no symptoms, the condition plays a considerable role in your health because it takes a toll on the body.

Hypertension and the Heart

High blood pressure can damage your heart and arteries in the short term, leading to a heart attack or stroke. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report these are the first and fourth leading causes of death in the U.S.

Hypertension and the Brain

Hypertension can also affect your brain, leading to a stroke. A stroke is a “brain attack” caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain. The fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. also leads to severe long-term disability.

Research also suggests that long-term high blood pressure may cause premature aging, reducing cognitive and memory skills.

Hypertension and the Kidneys

The American Heart Association (AHA) warns high blood pressure can damage your kidneys by preventing the proper filtering of blood. This can lead to kidney disease and even renal failure.

Hypertension and the Eyes

High blood pressure can also affect your vision. It can cause swelling and bleeding in the eyes, leading to vision loss. People with hypertension are also at risk of type 2 diabetes, leading to vision damage and loss of sight.

Hypertension and PAD

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a severe condition that affects the arteries outside of your heart. The AHA warns high blood pressure is a major risk factor for PAD. When blood pressure is high, it increases the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries. This can cause PAD.

How is High Blood Pressure Treated?

Your doctor will probably recommend lifestyle changes to help control your blood pressure. This includes quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and being more active.

If these wellness steps don’t help, your doctor may prescribe medication to help control your blood pressure.

Several medications are available to treat hypertension, so your doctor will work with you to find one that works best for you.

CBD to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Many consumers choose the popular hemp extract as a daily supplement to support their lifestyle changes. Potential benefits of CBD oil for blood pressure to encourage wellness include:

  • Promote better sleep
  • Reduce anxiousness
  • Maintain healthy stress levels
  • Assist with muscle recovery after fitness

If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, add CBD oil to your daily routine. Our list of benefits should encourage any consumer looking for an alternative supplement that will promote wellness.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.