Thumbay University Hospital Image Credit: Supplied

Hypertension, popularly known as high blood pressure is a chronic medical condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is consistently too high. While the consequences of hypertension are often associated with cardiovascular health, doctors from Thumbay University Hospital emphasise on the significant impact it can have on other vital organs, including the eyes, heart and brain.

Prolonged high blood pressure can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels in the eyes. Dr Kiran Kumar Chair, Medicine Department, Head of Internal Medicine Division at Thumbay University Hospital says that it can result in several eye-related conditions including hypertensive retinopathy, optic neuropathy, and retinal vein occlusion. “Regular eye examinations are crucial for individuals with hypertension, as early detection and treatment of these eye-related complications can help prevent irreversible vision loss,” adds Dr Kumar.

Hypertension also strains the heart. Dr Karim Ghannem, Specialist Interventional Cardiologist, Thumbay University Hospital, says, “Hypertension significantly strains the cardiovascular system, contributing to the development of coronary artery disease. This occurs especially when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked, thus increasing the risk of heart attacks, chest pain (angina), and other cardiovascular complications. In few cases, the heart muscles thicken and enlarge in response to the increased workload caused by hypertension. This hypertrophy of the heart can disrupt its normal functioning, potentially leading to heart failure, arrhythmias or sudden cardiac arrest.”

The brain relies on a steady supply of oxygen-rich blood to function properly, and hypertension can have detrimental effects on brain health, explains Dr Vivek Karan, consultant neurologist at Thumbay University Hospital. “Chronic hypertension increases the risk of cerebral infarction, commonly known as an ischemic stroke, wherein a clot or narrowed artery reduces blood flow to a part of the brain, resulting in tissue damage and potential long-term disability,” says Dr Karan.

In conclusion, managing hypertension requires a comprehensive approach that includes not only the cardiovascular system but also the impact on the eyes, heart, and brain. By staying proactive, individuals can take control of their health, minimise complications and lead a fulfilling life.