You may have heard that high blood pressure is known as the "Silent Killer".
High blood pressure, unlike many other diseases, usually does not come along with signs and symptoms that you will feel. Therefore, you may have high blood pressure for a very long time and it will go untreated since you have no idea.
But why is that so bad?
Well, first we need to take a look at what high blood pressure is. Your heart is responsible for pumping blood through your arteries and veins. The force that the blood travels with through those vessels is called blood pressure. The harder and faster the blood is rushing through, the higher the blood pressure.
Imagine a garden hose. Water can trickle out slowly or come out with such a strong force that it will ruin your flowers.
Your blood needs to be at the right pressure to get through the body. But if the pressure is too high, the vessels that carry the blood (known as arteries and veins) can become damaged. Like a flimsy garden hose that may start tearing with the force of strong water, your vessels are in danger of lots of damage if your blood pressure is too high.
Watch this video to see how that works:
What problems can the damage cause?
Heart attack - the vessels around the heart become damaged and can lead to blockages. When the vessels are blocked and cannot supply enough blood to the heart, a person can end up with a heart attack.
Stroke - the vessels supplying blood to the brain can burst or become blocked, leading to a stroke
Heart failure - the heart can get "tired" from all the extra hard work of pumping the blood so strong. This leads to heart failure, where the heart does not supply enough blood to the whole body.
Kidney disease or failure - the vessels supplying blood to the kidneys become damaged and the kidney cannot filter the blood the right way
Vision loss - the vessels in the back of the eye can become damage, leading to vision loss
Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) - blockages in the arteries caused by high blood pressure can cause pain in legs and arms.
That is why checking your blood pressure and keeping it under control is important - you can prevent these life threatening health problems from happening to YOU.
For more information, visit American Heart Association at www.heart.org