Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content

Effects of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can damage your health in many ways. It can seriously hurt important organs like your heart and brain.

Fortunately, you can control your blood pressure to lower your risk for serious health problems.

Decreased Blood Flow to the Heart

High blood pressure can harden your arteries, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart and lead to heart disease. In addition, decreased blood flow to the heart can cause:

  • Chest pain, also called angina.
  • Heart failure, a condition when your heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to your other organs.
  • Heart attack, which occurs when the blood supply to your heart is blocked and heart muscle begins to die without enough oxygen. The longer the blood flow is blocked, the greater the damage to the heart.

The Brain

High blood pressure can burst or block arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the brain, causing a stroke. Brain cells die during a stroke because they do not get enough oxygen. Stroke can cause serious disabilities in speech, movement, and other basic activities, and a stroke can kill you.

The Kidneys

Adults with diabetes, high blood pressure, or both have a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease than those without these diseases. Approximately 1 of 3 adults with diabetes and 1 of 5 adults with high blood pressure have chronic kidney disease.