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Effects of High Blood Pressure on the Brain

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can damage the body silently for years before showing any major symptoms. The greatest organ at risk to high blood pressure is the brain. 

If you don’t treat your high blood pressure, it can lead to permanent disability, deadly heart attack and dangerous strokes.

Understanding Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force that pushes oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. Blood pressure is measured by how forcefully your heart’s main chambers exert the blood, and by the diameters and stiffness of the arteries. 

Blood pressure has two components – systolic, and diastolic. The systolic numbers are the number recorded when your heart is pumping blood into your arteries, and your diastolic numbers are the numbers recorded when your heart is relaxing between the beats. An average adult human should ideally have 120/80 as their blood pressure. 

Damage to the Brain Caused Due to High Blood Pressure

Transient Ischemic Attack

Also known as a mini-stroke, a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is a temporary disruption of blood supply to the brain. The Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) is caused by the hardening of the arteries and, or blood clots caused by high blood pressure. TIA is usually a warning sign of a more serious brain stroke. 

Hemorrhage Stroke

Hemorrhage stroke is when the blood vessel bursts in the brain’s veins, spilling the blood into the surrounding fluid or in the brain. These are more severe attacks or strokes. 

Subarachnoid Stroke 

The first symptom of a Subarachnoid stroke is a severe headache. This stroke causes bleeding between the brain and the skull. According to Mayo Clinic, this stroke is the result of an aneurysm, an irregular bulge in the blood vessels ,burst in the brain. 

Vascular Dementia 

Dementia is caused by narrowed or blocked arteries, which cause limited blood flow to the brain. This is also known as vascular dementia. A stroke, disrupting blood flow to the brain, is also one of the reasons behind vascular dementia. 

High Blood Pressure, Higher Risk 

A Harvard Study shows that hypertension can increase a person’s risk of having a stroke by 220%. Although this can sound a little depressing, the good news is that the stroke can be controlled by reducing the systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg with good lifestyle choices. 

High Blood Pressure Emergencies 

High blood pressure is also known as a silent killer because the symptoms are usually camouflaged over the years. A sudden spike in blood pressure can cause the following situations or emergencies:

  • Blindness 
  • Chest Pain
  • Complication in Pregnancy 
  • Heart Attack
  • Memory Loss
  • Aortic dissection
  • Stroke 
  • Kidney Failure 

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