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Complications of high blood pressure

Karen Miller | 12/9/2015, 4:27 p.m.
Years of uncontrolled blood pressure can cause life-threatening disorders. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of stroke ...
Illustration by Caleb Olson

The most threatening aspect of high blood pressure is that it is generally silent. You feel it when you suffer one of its complications. By that time it is often too late. High blood pressure is the culprit behind several life-threatening conditions. Its other complications significantly lower the quality of life.

Life-threatening

Brain

Stroke

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in African Americans. About 77 percent of people who have a first stroke have blood pressure more than 140/90.

Video

Complications of untreated high blood pressure

Heart

Heart failure

Seventy-four percent of cases of heart failure occur in people with blood pressure more than 140/90.

Atherosclerosis

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause hardening of the arteries, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and peripheral arterial disease.

Kidney

Kidney failure

More than 28 percent of cases of kidney failure are attributed to uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Decreased quality of life

  • Loss of vision
  • Mental confusion and memory loss
  • Erectile dysfunction