Effects of high blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major cause of stroke and heart attack.
You can reduce your risk of having a stroke or heart attack by lowering your blood pressure.
A stroke is a serious, life-threatening medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure puts a strain on blood vessels all over the body, including vital arteries in the brain. This strain can cause vessels to weaken or become clogged up, which in turn can lead to blockage of the blood vessels taking blood to the brain or bleeding into the brain.
Either way it can result in a stroke.
Strokes are a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential because the sooner a person receives treatment for a stroke, the less damage is likely to happen. You can recognise a stroke using the FAST test:
- FACIAL weakness: Can the person smile? Has their mouth or eye drooped?
- ARM weakness: Can the person raise both arms?
- SPEECH problems: Can the person speak clearly and understand what you say?
- TIME to call 999
If a person fails any one of these tests, phone 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
A heart attack is a serious medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. Lack of blood to the heart can seriously damage the heart muscle
If you have high blood pressure, you’re also more at risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease in the future. Because of the increased strain on your heart and blood vessels, untreated high blood pressure can cause angina (chest pain and breathlessness caused when the blood supply to the muscles of the heart is restricted) and may eventually lead to a heart attack.
The symptoms of a heart attack vary from one person to another. You may feel tightness or pain in your chest. This may spread to your arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. For some people, the pain or tightness is severe, while others can feel nothing more than a mild discomfort. As well as having chest pain or discomfort you can feel light-headed or dizzy and short of breath. You may also feel nauseous or vomit.
The sooner you get emergency treatment, the greater your chances of survival and the more of your heart muscle can be saved.
Phone 999 for an ambulance immediately if you suspect you, or someone else, is having a heart attack.
Other effects of high blood pressure are kidney damage and damage to the retina (the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye which allows you to see4.
Are you drinking too much?