Risk Factors

You have a higher risk of hypertension if:

  • Your age is 45 and above
  • You are African American
  • You have a family history
  • You’re overweight or obese
  • You smoke
  • You consume too much salt
  • You consume too little potassium
  • You drink too much alcohol
  • You are always stressed
  • You suffer from certain chronic conditions, like kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea
  • You are pregnant (some women)

Complications of Hypertension

Over time, uncontrolled hypertension can damage some of your blood vessels and organs. The longer it gets uncontrolled, the greater the damage.

Uncontrolled hypertension (see figure below) can result in:

  • Atherosclerosis. Narrowing of the arteries.
  • Heart attack or stroke. Atherosclerosis can lead to a heart attack, stroke or other complications.
  • Aneurysm. Dangerous weakening and bulging of the main artery either in the chest or the abdomen which can rupture.
  • Heart failure. Decreased ability to pump blood.
  • Thickened or ruptured blood vessels in the eyes. This can lead to vision loss.

Main Complications of Hypertension