High Blood Pressure: The Silent Killer
What is High Blood Pressure?
Our hearts pump blood through our veins and arteries to get it where it needs to go. The blood naturally pushes against those blood vessels, just like water does when we force it through a tube. That force is our blood pressure. There is always going to be some pressure, but too much will cause problems.
One problem is that it wastes energy, which forces the body to do more work and wears it out more quickly. Unfortunately, there is also another problem. High blood pressure wears away at the blood vessels over time, which causes little tears in their walls. Plaque forms in those tears, which causes the blood vessels to get narrower. Forcing the blood through a smaller space increases the pressure on the walls, which makes matters even worse.
Why is it Dangerous?
Blood carries oxygen and other vital substances throughout the body. Every part of the human body needs to get something from the blood in order to function. Therefore, serious complications can arise if something inhibits the blood flow.
The heart is one of the most important organs, and one of the ones that suffers the most from high blood pressure. The disease naturally reduces the rate at which blood flows to the heart. That can stop the heart from properly pumping blood to the rest of the body in the event of heart failure; or it can cause a heart attack if the heart is deprived of oxygen. Both of those cases can be fatal.
Our brains also need to get plenty of oxygen in order to function, and they rely on our blood to deliver it. A blockage in the arteries that lead into the brain can prevent brain cells from getting oxygen, which causes them to die. That process is known as a stroke, which can be fatal. Survivors tend to have lasting problems, because they can cause permanent brain damage.
We can treat high blood pressure with a mixture of lifestyle changes and medication. Leading a healthy lifestyle can also prevent it from developing in the first place!