High Blood Pressure

Frequently Asked Questions

6. Why is it so important to control my blood pressure?

High blood pressure is often called "the silent killer" because it usually has no symptoms. Occasionally, headaches may occur. Some people may not find out they have high blood pressure until they have trouble with their hearts, kidneys, or eyes. When high blood pressure is not diagnosed and treated, it can lead to other life-threatening conditions, including heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure. It can also lead to vision changes or blindness.

High blood pressure can cause

  • your heart to work too hard and become larger or weaker, which can lead to heart failure.
  • small bulges (aneurysms) to worsen in your blood vessels. Common locations for aneurysms are the aorta, which is the main artery from the heart; the arteries in your brain, legs, and intestines; and the artery leading to your spleen.
  • blood vessels in your kidneys to narrow, which can cause kidney failure, and blood vessels in your eyes to burst or bleed, which may cause vision changes and can result in blindness.
  • arteries throughout your body to "harden" faster, especially those in your heart, brain, kidneys, and legs. This can cause a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, or peripheral arterial disease.