Why is high blood pressure so dangerous?

A Answers (4)

  • ARosendo Collazo, DO, Internal Medicine, answered on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida
    Healthy arteries are vitally important. They need to remain strong and elastic. Their inner lining should be smooth for the blood flow that enriches the organs and tissues with adequate nutrients and oxygen.
    Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. Blood pressure can rise and fall during the day or during certain activities. When blood pressure stays elevated over time, it is called high blood pressure or hypertension.
    High blood pressure can damage the cells of your arteries' inner lining. Other conditions can aggravate the damage from hypertension, making the artery walls thick and stiff. Fats from your diet enter your bloodstream, pass through the damaged cells and collect to start atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.
    In severe, untreated cases, these changes can affect arteries throughout your body, blocking blood flow to your heart, kidneys, brain, arms and legs.
    The damage can cause many problems, including chest pain (angina), heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, blocked arteries in your legs or arms (peripheral arterial disease), eye damage, and aneurysms.
    Helpful? 1 person found this helpful.
  • ARobin Miller, MD, Integrative Medicine, answered
    Dr. Robin Miller - High Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure has become far too common, with too few people taking steps to fix it. In this video, Dr. Robin Miller talks about what it is, why it's dangerous and how to bring it back to normal.


  • AEmilia Klapp, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered

    High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can be life-threatening because it causes two conditions that make the heart work harder:

    • It causes the artery walls to thicken, which reduces blood flow.
    • It makes the inside of the arteries rough, which contributes to the formation of mounds of fat and debris called plaque and also reduces the space available for blood to circulate.

    Over time, a heart that works strenuously to pump blood becomes enlarged. This can cause the heart and blood vessels to become damaged, increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

  • If your blood pressure stays high, over time your risk of heart attack and other problems caused by atherosclerosis are greatly increased. High blood pressure can cause your heart to enlarge and weaken, resulting in heart failure. With heart failure, your heart can no longer pump adequate blood throughout your body. 

    Hypertension can also increase the chance of abnormal bulges or balloons in the artery walls called aneurysms. Arteries are blood vessels that carry the blood from your heart to different parts of your body. Aneurysms commonly appear in the main artery, the one that carries the blood from the heart to the body. Also, these abnormal bulges can occur in the arteries of the brain, legs, intestines and spleen. Aneurysms can burst and result in death.

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At what point does hypertension cause damage to the heart?