Heart Health

What Happens If You Ignore Hypertension?

Person checking his blood pressure to prevent hypertension

Many health professionals call hypertension the “silent killer” and it’s not difficult to understand why. The condition can range from mild to severe and often appears asymptomatic until later stages are developed. During more severe stages, some patients may experience sharp headaches, nosebleeds, dizziness, and chest pain. To prevent this from happening, it’s essential for people to regularly check their blood pressure, even if they have a healthy background. For many, high blood pressure can sometimes continue untreated since most people claim to “feel fine” despite their practitioners providing them a forewarning. High blood pressure causes the heart to work harder and beat at a higher resistance which can weaken the arteries and eventually lead to dire consequences. Therefore, it’s extremely important to always pay attention to blood pressure levels. If one chooses to ignore it they may find themselves dealing with these more severe conditions.

Aneurysms

The American Stroke Association describes aneurysms as “a ballooning of the blood vessel¹. They occur when a bulge forms within damaged or weakened artery walls, and when too much pressure is applied to the area, it gets to a point where it ruptures, thus causing internal bleeding. Usually, they occur within the brain (cerebral aneurysm or subarachnoid hemorrhage), however they can also happen in other parts of the body such as the heart, abdomen and chest. Severe untreated hypertension happens when the blood is pumped with more pressure than normal, which eventually leads to a blockage in the arteries. If this blockage occurs within the brain, this increases the likelihood of an aneurysm. When someone suffers from an aneurysm, they can be subject to severe headaches, nausea, seizures, paralysis of the arms or legs, trouble speaking, or in severe cases seizures and comatose. Imagine having to suffer through all of these life-threatening situations all because one didn’t take the necessary precautions of monitoring their blood pressure.

Dementia

For some, correlating hypertension and dementia seems like an unlikely connection, however multiple studies performed by the World Alzheimer Report in 2014 have shown “individuals with high blood pressure were more likely to develop vascular dementia in their life ”². Dementia is a term to describe a group of conditions that cause impairments within the brain such as constant confusion and memory loss. So, how are disorders within the brain caused by hypertension? Over time, high blood pressure can cause a strain within the arteries causing them to become narrow. If an artery becomes narrow within or near the cerebrum, it can cause a lack of nutrients and oxygen to the brain, thus damaging brain cells.

Kidney Failure

The purpose of the kidneys is to extract toxic waste, sugars, and fluids from the bloodstream and transfer them to the urine for the body to dispose. However, in order to do this, blood vessels are a necessity. When an individual ignores their hypertension, it will weaken the arteries and damage the necessary blood vessels that the kidneys need. When blood vessels are damaged, the nephrons (that filter the blood within the kidneys) won’t receive the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to function. Eventually, this will lead to kidney failure. In addition to detoxing the body, kidneys also produce hormones to help regulate blood pressure. However, when a kidney becomes damaged due to extreme hypertension, this can lead to a plethora of various other health problems and artery blockages that can lead to a life-threatening domino effect.

Coronary Heart Disease

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that coronary heart disease is “the most common type of heart disease, killing 365,914 people in 2017”³. The condition develops when arteries can no longer deliver oxygenated blood to the heart. With that being said, it makes sense why long-term untreated hypertension can lead to serious heart disease. Those who ignore their hypertension are at high risk of developing coronary heart disease because high blood pressure applies more pressure to an (already) damaged artery wall which makes it more vulnerable to plaque buildup.

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular disease that is caused by a buildup of fatty deposits in the arteries. Eventually, this can get to a point where the heart fails to pump blood to the rest of the body. A more commonly known name for the condition is “heart failure”.  While this takes years to develop, untreated hypertension is one of the condition’s risk factors. High blood pressure causes the heart to work harder than it is supposed to, to ensure that oxygenated blood reaches all the organs in the body, which can lead to the organ to thicken and enlarge. The larger the heart grows, the harder that the heart has to work to pump blood.

Please Don’t Ignore Hypertension

Untreated hypertension can cause various health complications including strokes, heart attacks and cardiac arrest. For those who “feel fine” after being diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s best to treat the condition before it grows into something much more serious. At LifeWorks Wellness Center, we have an assortment of treatments to help patients who suffer with hypertension such as Chelation, Plaquex IV Therapy, EECP Treatment and Ozone Therapy.

For those with hypertension, please call to schedule an appointment with us at 727-466-6789 before the issue develops into something much more significant.

Helpful Heart Health Resources

  • Heart Health - our complete page on heart health / cardiovascular treatment.
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About Dr. Minkoff

Dr. David Minkoff graduated from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1974 and was elected to the “Phi Beta Kappa” of medical schools, the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Medical Fraternity for very high academic achievement. He then completed both a Pediatric Residency and a Fellowship in Infectious Disease at the University of California at San Diego. He worked at the University of California and Children’s Hospitals in San Diego as an attending physician in infectious disease while conducting original research on Ribaviron, a broad spectrum anti-viral agent to fight disease. He also co-directed a neo-natal intensive care unit and worked in emergency medicine. In 1992, Dr. Minkoff’s attended a lecture by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, widely considered the father of functional medicine, during which he had a eureka moment, and began pursuing the alternative health field with a vengeance, studying under the most accomplished thought leaders on natural & integrative healing. In 1997 Dr. Minkoff and his wife set up a small clinic to help friends with their medical problems. What began as an experiment blossomed into LifeWorks Wellness Center, one of the most successful clinics for complementary medicine in the United States.