High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition where the force exerted by blood as it flows through the arterial wall is very high. Normal blood pressure is 120/80. The first reading is called Systolic blood pressure is the pressure in arteries as the heart contracts and Diastolic Pressure is the pressure reading in the arteries when the heart relaxes.

In Nigeria, high blood pressure is prevalent according to a 2010 Study published in Research Gate. As of 2010, hypertension affected 20.8 million Nigerians aged 20 years old and over. This number is expected to climb up to 39.1 million by 2030. So, hypertension is a big issue in Nigeria. Some of the causes of hypertension include high salt intake, genetic disposition, obesity, smoking, alcohol intake, lack of exercise, stress, ageĀ and more. Managing the causes of hypertension especially stress is important if one wants to live a long healthy life.

While hypertension may not sound scary to many people, here are some of the organs in your body that high blood pressure damages:

Arteries
A normal artery is strong, flexible and elastic. The inner lining of an artery is smooth and blood flows freely. High blood pressure can damage and weaken the cells that make up the lining of the arteries. A weakened artery can have a part of its wall enlarge and bulge. The bulgeĀ (an aneurysm) can rupture and cause internal bleeding.

blood vessel

Brain
Like all other organs in the body, the brain needs nutrient carrying blood to function properly. Some of the damages that hypertension does to your brain include stroke, ischemic attack (a minor stroke) and can even lead to dementia.

Heart
Over time, high blood pressure can weaken the heart muscles, thus affecting their function. A weakened heart may begin to wear out and fail. Since hypertension also affects your arteries, it will also affect how much blood flows to the heart. Without proper blood flow, the heart may beat irregularly or may suffer an attack.

Eyes
The vessels that carry blood to the eyes are tiny and delicate. And like other arteries, they can be also be affected by hypertension. Eye blood vessel damage, fluid buildup under the retina and nerve damage can all be caused by high blood pressure.

eyes

Kidney
Filtering excess fluid and waste from the body is a function of the kidney. This depends largely on healthy blood vessels. High blood pressure can weaken the arteries that supply the kidneys causing kidney failure and scarring.

 

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