The effects of blood pressure on health are primarily related to cardiovascular performance. Blood pressure levels that are too high can cause constriction and hardening in arteries and reduce blood flow to the brain. When this happens, a stroke or aneurysm could occur. When blood pressure is too low, it can cause fainting, weakness, and muscle paralysis. In extreme cases, the negative effects of blood pressure on health can result in death.
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is a fairly common condition and is suffered by millions of people worldwide. It is considered much more common than low blood pressure and, in many ways, can be more dangerous. In addition to cardiovascular problems, hypertension can cause brain damage that can cause stroke, mental impairment, and dementia. It can also lead to problems with vision including retinal bleeding and damage to the optic nerve.
One of the more serious effects of blood pressure on health is the damage it can cause to kidneys. Main arteries that run to the kidneys and the smaller vessels inside the kidneys can be injured by high blood pressure. The deteriorated vessels can restrict normal function until the kidneys are unable to release waste. This sometimes leads to toxicity, and some people with chronic high blood pressure eventually have to undergo dialysis.
An aneurysm is a condition in which the walls of a vein or artery develop a prominent nodule. When a person has high blood pressure, he or she is at high risk for an aneurysm to form. Aneurysms form when excess pressure inside the vessel or artery wall cause weakening and thinning. If the weakened area bursts or begins to leak, it could lead to internal bleeding.
Low blood pressure is not considered as common as high blood pressure and is often hard to diagnose. It generally cannot be measured as accurately as high blood pressure, so many people who have it may be unaware of the condition. Depending on the severity, it can lead to serious organ damage. This damage is typically caused by too little oxygen being delivered throughout the bloodstream. It can also signal an underlying disease or illness such as cancer or an autoimmune deficiency disorder.
There are several types of treatment available to help reduce the impact of high or low blood pressure on health. Prescription drugs seem to help most people keep their blood pressure at normal levels. As with many illnesses, sometimes lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of blood pressure disorders. Eating low fat, low carbohydrate diets and getting enough aerobic exercise are just two ways to guard against the condition.