Risks from Hypertension

Risks from hypertension: How high blood pressure is dangerous to the body.

Uncontrolled blood pressure – one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) such as heart attacks and stroke. It is the most common cause of death and disease worldwide.

In India, CVDs are also responsible for one-third of total deaths.

Basics about high blood pressure (hypertension):

Hypertension may quietly damage the body for years before symptoms appear.

Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). In general, hypertension is a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher.

What are the risk factors of osteoporosis?

Uncontrolled or undetected hypertension may lead to –

  • Heart attack — High blood pressure often damages the arteries preventing blood flow to the heart muscle by becoming blocked.
    Stroke — The blood vessels supplying blood and oxygen to the brain to become blocked or bursts owing to high blood pressure.
  • Dementia – Narrowed or blocked arteries can limit blood flow to the brain and lead to a condition known as vascular dementia (a disease in which a person loses his memory)
  • Heart failure — The increased workload from high blood pressure causes the heart to enlarge and blood supply to the body becomes restricted.
  • Kidney disease or failure — High blood pressure may damage the arteries around the kidneys and interfere with the kidney function.
  • Vision loss — High blood pressure may damage or strain the blood vessels in the eyes. Vision loss may be due to blockade of blood vessels in the retina (retinopathy), damage of nerves due to less blood flow to the nerve that sends light signals to the brain (optic neuropathy) or fluid buildup under the retina (choroidopathy).
  • Sexual dysfunction — High blood pressure leads to erectile dysfunction in men and may contribute to lower sexual excitement (libido) in women.
    Angina — Unchecked blood pressure for many years may lead to a heart disease called microvascular disease (MVD). Angina, or chest pain, is a common symptom.
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD) — High blood pressure along with high cholesterol may cause atherosclerosis that could further lead to narrowed arteries in the legs, arms, stomach and head, causing pain or fatigue.

How can one protect themselves from the risks related to hypertension?

Knowing one’s statistics: Regular checks and monitoring of high blood pressure is vital to understand if a person has hypertension.

Understanding symptoms and risks: Learning the risk factors for high blood pressure makes it helpful in controlling the condition

Make changes according to requirement: Making heart-healthy lifestyle changes, taking prescribed medication and working in partnership with health care professionals goes a long way in managing hypertension.

Are there any government initiatives for controlling hypertension?

The government has recently started a programme called as the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI) which targets a relative reduction India of 25% in the prevalence of hypertension (raised blood pressure) by 2025.

For this, under IHCI, a team of Cardio-Vascular Health Officers (CVHOs) and Senior Treatment Supervisors (STSs) supports the state governments in :-

  • Developing and adopting treatment methods;
  • Anticipating and getting the anti-hypertension medicines;
  • Building capacity of health care providers;
  • Monitoring patients through effective information systems including digital apps like “Simple app”.


  1. India Hypertension Control Initiative, a high impact and low-cost solution. WHO. March 2024.–a-high-impact-and-low-cost-solution
  2. Health Threats from High Blood Pressure. American Heart Association. March 2024.
  3. High blood pressure dangers: Hypertension’s effects on your body. Mayo Clinic. March 2024.

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