Why Go on the DASH Diet?
Let's face it, hypertension is no laughing matter. There are serious risks associated with uncontrolled high blood pressure that could lead to disability and death. The good news is that hypertension is preventable and treatable with lifestyle changes.
How Many People in America Suffer from Hypertension?
The current statistics show that roughly one in three American adults suffer from high blood pressure. That is approximately 65 million people. Half of all Americans over the age of 60 currently have hypertension, and the risk of a typical American having high blood
pressure at some time in his or her life is about 90%. Those statistics are not very good odds. But the good news is that prevention and delay of high blood pressure is possible.
Costs of High Blood Pressure
The costs of high blood pressure due to numerous deadly diseases, shortened life span and lower quality life are estimated to be about $93 billion a year in the United States alone.
Complications Associated with Hypertension
Damage to the arteries Arteries are elastic, flexible and strong. They supply the body with nutrients and oxygen. Increased pressure due to high blood pressure can cause various problems for the arteries.
● Arteriosclerosis is the thickening and narrowing of arteries that can occur as a result of high blood pressure. This can reduce blood flow to vital organs, including the heart, brain, kidneys, lungs and arms. Arteriosclerosis can cause a wide range of problems, including chest pain, heart attack, stroke, kidney and heart failure, and eye damage.
● Aneurysm is a bulge in the artery caused by high blood pressure. Theaneurysm can rupture, causing internal bleeding that can lead to death. Damage to the heart The heart is responsible for blood flow throughout the entire body, but high blood pressure can create serious problems for this vital organ.
● Coronary artery disease limits the blood supply to the heart. This can lead to heart attack.
● An enlarged left heart is the result of high blood pressure forcing the heart to work too hard. When this happens, the left side of the heart thickens and stiffens. This can lead to heart attack, heart failure, or sudden death.
● Heart failure can be caused by the strain of elevated blood pressure on the heart muscle. This can cause the heart to become overwhelmed and fail. Damage to the brain The brain requires a ready supply of nourishing blood in order to work correctly.
● Transient ischemic attack is also called a mini-stroke. It is a brief disruption in the blood flow to the brain, often caused by a blood clot due to high blood pressure. A TIA often warns of an impending full stroke.
● Stroke occurs when the brain doesn’t get the oxygen and nutrients it requires to function properly. This causes the brain cells to die. High blood pressure damages and weakens the brain’s blood vessels, which can lead to stroke.
● Dementia is a disease of the brain that can cause problems with speaking, thinking, memory, movement, and vision. Although there are several causes of dementia, one primary cause is the narrowing of the arteries leading to the brain, caused by high blood pressure. Even high blood pressure that starts at a young age can result in later dementia.
● Mild cognitive impairment is the stage between normal changes in brain function that happens due to aging and more serious problems like Alzheimer’s. This is a result of blocked blood flow through the arteries due to high blood pressure damage. Damage to the kidneys The kidneys are the body’s filtration system. The filtration process relies on healthy blood vessels. High blood pressure can interfere with the filtration process and can lead to several kinds of kidney disease.
● Kidney failure can happen when high blood pressure causes damage to the arteries that lead to the kidneys and the small blood vessels inside the kidneys. This damage can make kidneys work less effectively, filtering waste and can result in waste accumulation.
● Kidney scarring or caused by scaring to the glomeruli, which are clusters of blood vessels inside the kidneys. These scars make it impossible for the kidneys to filter waste, which can lead to kidney failure.
● Aneurysm to the kidney arteries is caused by damage to the arteries leading to the kidneys. High blood pressure causes this damage.
Damage to the eyes
The eyes are supplied with blood by tiny blood vessels that are easily damaged by high blood pressure.
● Eye blood vessel damage can be caused by high blood pressure. This can lead to retina damage and bleeding of the eyes, blurry vision, and total loss of vision.
● Fluid buildup under the retina is caused by leaking blood vessels under the retina. This can lead to impaired vision.
● Damage to the optic nerve is caused by blocked blood flow to the optic nerve, killing nerve cells in the eye, leading to bleeding in the eye and vision loss.
Sexuality is often important in maintaining lasting relationships. Sexual dysfunction can lead to anxiety and troubles in personal relationships.
● Male sexual dysfunction can be caused by high blood pressure because it damages the blood vessels and arteries that limit the blood flow to the penis. This makes it increasingly difficult to achieve or maintain an erection.
● Female sexual dysfunction due to high blood pressure is caused by limited blood flow to the sexual organs, leading to decreased sexual desire, dryness, and difficulties reaching orgasm.
Other issues related to high blood pressure
● Bone loss can be caused by increased levels of calcium being excreted in the urine caused by high blood pressure.
● Sleep problems, such as sleep apnea, are common in about 50% of all people who suffer from high blood pressure.
Clearly the risks of hypertension far outweigh the momentary pleasure in continuing to eat a “typical American diet.” Unfortunately, most Americans lack proper nutritional education to change their lifestyle. By reading this report, you are making the first positive step toward a healthier life.
For extra information about blood pressure, click here