High blood pressure is a condition that affects more than one in four adults in the UK.
But many symptoms go undetected – the only sure way to find out if you have it is to have your blood pressure checked.
If high blood pressure goes undetected, it can quietly damage your body for years.
Left uncontrolled, you may end up with a disability, a poor quality of life or even a fatal heart attacks.
Here are four ways undetected high blood pressure can damage your body, according to Mayo Clinic.
High blood pressure gradually increases the pressure of blood flowing through your arteries. As a result you may experience damaged and narrowed arteries.
The medical research group explains: “High blood pressure can damage the cells of your arteries’ inner lining. When fats from your diet enter your bloodstream, they can collect in the damaged arteries.
“Eventually, your artery walls become less elastic, limiting blood flow throughout your body.”
Hypertension can also cause aneurysm. This is when the constant pressure of blood moving through a weakened artery can cause a section of its wall to enlarge and form a bulge.
An aneurysm can potentially rupture and cause life-threading internal bleeding.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause coronary heart disease.
Mayo Clinic says: “Arteries narrowed by coronary artery disease don’t allow blood to flow freely through your arteries. When blood can’t flow freely to your heart, you can experience chest pain, a heart attack or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias).
It can also cause an enlarged heart, where the heart is forced to work harder than necessary, causing the left ventricle to thicken or stiffen, limiting its ability to pump blood to the body.
Hypertension, uncontrolled, can lead to stroke by damaging and weakening the brain’s blood vessels, causing them to narrow, rupture and leak.
Vascular dementia can also be a result from narrowing an blockage of the arteries that supply blood to the brain.
The kidneys filter excess fluid and waste from the blood, a proceed that depends on healthy blood vessels.
High blood pressure can injure the blood vessels in and leading to your kidneys, which can cause several types of kidney disease – kidney failure and kidney scarring.
High blood pressure is one of the most common causes of kidney failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.
It explains: “That’s because it can damage both the large arteries leading to your kidneys and the tiny blood vessels within the kidneys. Damage to either makes it so your kidneys can’t effectively filter waste from your blood.
“As a result, dangerous levels of fluid and waste can accumulate. You might ultimately require dialysis or kidney transplantation.”
Glomerulosclerosis, a type of kidney damage caused by scarring of the glomeruli – a tuft of small blood vessels located within the kidney – can leave your kidneys unable to filter waste effectively, leading to kidney failure.
If you’re measuring your blood pressure at home yourself, what is considered a normal reading?