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What are the risks of having high blood pressure?

A:

Quick Answer

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause damage to the heart, arteries and organs and ultimately can cause death, according to the American Heart Association. When untreated, high blood pressure can cause congestive heart failure, heart disease, a heart attack or aortic dissection.

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Full Answer

Uncontrolled high blood pressure can also lead to vision and memory loss, fluid in the lungs, kidney damage, stroke, angina, peripheral artery disease and erectile dysfunction if left untreated, according to the American Heart Association. Patients who have blood pressure higher than 140 over 90 mm Hg are at risk for serious cardiovascular problems.

High blood pressure that is not treated or controlled can damage the cells within the inner lining of the arteries, which can harden the arteries and make the artery walls stick and thick, according to the Mayo Clinic. Damage to the arteries can block blood flow to the arms, legs, heart, brain and kidneys. Individuals may then experience chest pains, kidney failure, eye damage, aneurysms or heart failure.

The risk for heart damage with the presence of high blood pressure is increased based on age, gender, heredity, race, physical inactivity and lifestyle habits, according to the American Heart Association. Individuals who are overweight or obese, possess high cholesterol, have been diagnosed with diabetes and those who smoke are even more at risk, especially when blood pressure is not controlled.

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