CONSEQUENCES of High Blood Pressure: Know yourself

What keeps you from keeping up with your medicines? Eating healthy? Losing weight? Be aware of your barriers to better health and talk with your doctor about them. Your provider or clinic may have suggestions or know programs that can help.

Once your treatment program becomes routine, maintaining a lower blood pressure is easier. Remind yourself that by managing your blood pressure, you are lowering your risk for heart attack, stroke and other serious conditions. High blood pressure is often the ­first domino in a chain or “domino effect” leading to devastating consequences, like:

  • Heart attack — High blood pressure damages arteries that can become blocked and prevent blood from flowing to tissues in the heart muscle.
  • Stroke — High blood pressure can cause blood vessels in the brain to burst or clog more easily.
  • Heart failure — The increased workload from high blood pressure can cause the heart to enlarge and fail to supply blood to the body.
  • Kidney disease or failure — High blood pressure can damage the arteries around the kidneys and interfere with their ability to effectively filter blood.
  • Vision loss — High blood pressure can strain or damage blood vessels in the eyes.
  • Sexual dysfunction — This can be erectile dysfunction in men or lower libido in women.
  • Angina — Over time, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease or microvascular disease. Angina, or chest pain, is a common symptom.
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) — Arthrosclerosis caused by high blood pressure can cause a narrowing of arteries in the legs, arms, stomach and head, causing pain or fatigue.

Download the consequences of HBP infographic: English | Spanish | Traditional Chinese

A simple blood pressure check is the fi­rst step to preventing the “domino effect.” Learn more at www.heart.org/hbp.