The implications of high blood pressure for overall health include possible damage to the arteries, brain, heart and kidneys, according to Mayo Clinic. This damage can occur quietly over many years until relatively severe symptoms show up. Ultimate implications include heart attack, stroke and other dangerous incidents.
Arteries are strong and flexible when they are healthy, with a smooth lining that facilitates the free flow of blood, explains Mayo Clinic. However, if blood is coursing through under high pressure, the cells along the lining can suffer damage. Over time, this makes the walls of the arteries stiff and thick. As fats come through the bloodstream, they gather at the spot of damage and start to form plaque. The elevated pressure can also cause a spot on the arterial wall to form a bulge and potentially burst in an aneurysm.
If arteries feeding the heart start to narrow and harden, symptoms from chest pain to heart attack can result, warns Mayo Clinic. If the heart has to work harder to deal with high blood pressure, the left ventricle can stiffen as well, limiting its pumping ability. When high blood pressure keeps the brain from receiving blood through a ministroke or full stroke, the brain can suffer from permanent damage. Dementia and cognitive impairment can result. If high blood pressure damages the arteries feeding the kidneys, they lose the ability to filter out waste and can suffer aneurysms of their own.