High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is something that can develop in your body years before you ever have symptoms. Of course, embracing the practice of preventative care and looking for the signs of hypertension and prehypertension give you the advantage over this chronic illness.
Though many Americans are aware of the concept of high blood pressure, and some know that hypertension runs in their family, a great number are still unaware of their current condition or the effects prehypertension or hypertension can have on their life and body.
Regularly keeping appointments at Warner Family Practice allows for both you and your provider to spot symptoms of high blood pressure as they begin to appear, gaining maximum control of your health.
In this article we will examine the effects of high blood pressure and demystify the impact it can have.
How Serious Is High Blood Pressure And What Are the “Symptoms” Of High Blood Pressure
If you have seen any of the pharmaceutical commercials on TV for high blood pressure, you already know that not addressing hypertension symptoms will have an adverse affect on your health in the long-term. To what extent those effects will be felt is where most American’s knowledge ends.
When high blood pressure is unaddressed, disability, loss of quality of life and even a heart attack all become possible realities. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in 2014, hypertension was a contributing factor in the deaths of 410,000 Americans. If you were to look further into the major effects of high blood pressure, you would find a large segment of those living with hypertension who go on to experience strokes.
When the effects of high blood pressure are finally laid out in black and white, helping patients realize what’s really at stake beyond heart and blood flow issues, it’s natural to begin wondering, “What symptoms should I be looking for to know if I have hypertension?”
Unfortunately, in many cases there are no visible symptoms to provide a warning or alert that something serious could happen.
When symptoms do appear, they are vague and first appear as a result of your blood pressure reaching a severe or life-threatening stage. Symptoms of severe or life-threatening hypertension include but are not limited to:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Ear noise or buzzing
- Vision changes.
The only way to gain an accurate diagnosis and begin taking control over elevated blood pressure is to visit a medical professional.
How High Blood Pressure Impacts Your Overall Health
Our Chandler family practice is built upon the practice of preventative care – tests, screenings and annual wellness visits – to create a 360° view of your health and establish benchmarks for spotting specific illnesses such as hypertension.
The patient/doctor relationship is truly a partnership and there is no greater example of this than when a provider begins making recommendations to bring hypertension or prehypertension under control. Unfortunately, far too many Americans continue to ignore high blood pressure issues, increasing their risk for heart attack or stroke.
What is actually happening in a hypertensive patient is increased stress on the arterial walls which can lead to plaque buildup or blockages – usually leading to heart attack or stroke. In addition, it can lead to the dilation of the heart muscle itself, known as cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy leads to different arrhythmias, or electrical problems, with the heart and in a worst case scenario, this can lead to loss of life – that is a scary thought.
One of the anecdotal triggers of high blood pressure is stress. In truth, greater stress in your life may cause higher blood pressure, however, stress alone does not cause long term blood pressure issues. Hypertension does have an impact on stress, meaning that when you are diagnosed with hypertension, you may experience more stress than you normally would otherwise.
As such, many with high blood pressure seek ways to reduce stress in their lives. One of the best ways to manage stress is through performing some light exercise to help you calm down and relieve stress. This, in turn, will help lower your blood pressure to a point where you are not continuing the vicious cycle between high blood pressure and your stress level.
Does hypertension extend beyond stress, confusion, vision challenges and chest pain? It sure does. High blood pressure truly strains nearly every area of your life, including your sex life.
How High Blood Pressure Can Impact Your Sex Life
You may not think that hypertension would have a huge impact on your sex life, but it definitely can. Hypertension itself negatively impacts your health; often the medications meant to help you fight high blood pressure can also be responsible for negative side-effects.
To what extent these side-effects are felt related specifically to sexuality, will differ for men and women. Without getting into great detail, some men have reported experiencing erectile dysfunction and even ejaculation problems. For women the link between hypertension and sex is typically related to sexual desire and difficulty achieving orgasm.
Why would high blood pressure impact your sex life? Hypertension reduces blood flow, especially in the genital areas. When blood flow to the sexual organs is reduced, it makes it difficult to enjoy or even have sex. When your sex life is being adversely impacted by hypertension, the only thing you can do is treat your condition. If you or your provider believe medication is the culprit, it is likely a beta blocker or a thiazide diuretic. If this is the case, you may want to talk to your doctor to explore other options.
With the impact of hypertension reaching as far as your sex life, it truly is a chronic illness which impacts all stages of life. There is yet one area that high blood pressure impacts which is often forgotten: your ability to focus.
High Blood Pressure And The Impact On Your Ability to Focus
The effects of hypertension extend all the way to your brain. People with high blood pressure are more likely to have trouble learning and understanding concepts than those who do not have it.
The reduction in ability to focus on the task at hand is partially because of the reduced blood flow to the brain. As people get older, if untreated hypertension is allowed to progress, reduction in focus will only worsen and cognitive functions will continue to decline. Experiencing a decrease in sexual drive, contemplating having a stroke or heart attack and an inability to focus or to function mentally can all be scary effects of living with hypertension.
The risk of a heart attack or stroke is just another reason to schedule and keep a yearly physical appointment, as well as maintain ongoing quarterly visits with your provider – especially when you feel good and there are no apparent health issues.
How To Know If You Have Prehypertension Or Hypertension
When you consider all of the various side effects related to high blood pressure, the importance of knowing and controlling your blood pressure is apparent. Avoiding a possible diagnosis and treatment opens your body up to the issues mentioned above, as well as other issues not covered in this article, that are directly and indirectly related to hypertension and your overall health.
A qualified healthcare provider, such as those at our Chandler family practice, will guide you through every step necessary to take control of your blood pressure, bring your numbers down below a prehypertension diagnosis and create a plan for maintaining healthy blood pressure in the future.
If you are in the Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix or Gilbert area of Arizona, we encourage you to schedule a visit with one of our providers. You can call 480.831.8457 to speak with our scheduling department.
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