High blood pressure can affect almost every organ in the body. It is the single most important risk factor for the development of heart disease and stroke. It can lead to other serious health problems, such as kidney disease, aneurysms, loss of vision and memory loss.
Coronary Artery Disease
Of all the serious and even life- threatening side effects of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease is by far the most common. Coronary artery disease kills more people in the USA than any other illness. We know that the heart is the organ responsible for pumping blood to the rest of the body to provide oxygen and nutrients vital for sustaining life. However, even though the heart pumps blood 24 hours every day, the blood that flows through its four chambers does not provide the heart muscle itself with those vital nutrients. That is where the coronary arteries come into play.
The coronary arteries are the vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood, oxygen, and nutrients. These arteries are filled with blood from the left ventricle. The cardiac veins empty that blood right back into the heart for reprocessing with the rest of the blood from the body. As long as these arteries stay clean and do not get clogged, the heart muscle usually stays pretty healthy. However, when these vessels begin to narrow and get blocked, the heart muscle gets damaged.
This can occur suddenly, which usually results in a heart attack. But the damage can occur slowly over a long period of time, which can lead to congestive heart failure.