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One Major Side Effect of High Blood Pressure, Says Science

An aneurysm is a bulge in a weakened wall of your artery—imagine air being blown into a balloon. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

May is Blood Pressure Education Month, and it's possible that if you're not aware of your blood pressure—you should be. Under American Heart Association guidelines, "nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure and 75% of those with high blood pressure do not have it controlled. This means there is more work to do to help American adults understand their numbers and risks of this 'silent killer.'" Having high blood pressure can lead to a host of complications, some of them life threatening. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID and Didn't Know It.

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One Major Side Effect of High Blood Pressure is an Aneurysm

MRA brain scan of cerebral artery in the brain with doctor pointing out that abnormal blood vessels.
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You likely think of high blood pressure leading to a heart attack. It can. But one major side effect is an aneurysm. An aneurysm is a bulge in a weakened wall of your artery—imagine air being blown into a balloon. If the pressure is high, the more likely your vessels are to be weakened and bulge out. Eventually, the aneurysm may burst, which can lead to blood clots, massive bleeding or a stroke. Other side effects of high blood pressure include:

  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart Failure. …
  • Kidney Issues, due to weakened blood vessels
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Memory Issues or Dementia.

Read on for what's considered normal blood pressure, and what's too high.

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Normal

Normal blood pressure 120/80 on an LCD screen
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"Blood pressure numbers of less than 120/80 mm Hg are considered within the normal range. If your results fall into this category, stick with heart-healthy habits like following a balanced diet and getting regular exercise," says the AHA.

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Elevated

Measuring blood pressure at home with portable device, health check
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"Elevated blood pressure is when readings consistently range from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic. People with elevated blood pressure are likely to develop high blood pressure unless steps are taken to control the condition," says the AHA.

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Hypertension Stage 1

Senior woman suffering from high blood pressure sitting at a table in her living room using a blood pressure monitor
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"Hypertension Stage 1 is when blood pressure consistently ranges from 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic. At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors are likely to prescribe lifestyle changes and may consider adding blood pressure medication based on your risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), such as heart attack or stroke," says the AHA.

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Hypertension Stage 2

woman measures her blood pressure.
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"Hypertension Stage 2 is when blood pressure consistently ranges at 140/90 mm Hg or higher. At this stage of high blood pressure, doctors are likely to prescribe a combination of blood pressure medications and lifestyle changes," says the AHA.

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Hypertensive Crisis

Senior lady receiving bad news about her blood pressure from her doctor
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"This stage of high blood pressure requires medical attention. If your blood pressure readings suddenly exceed 180/120 mm Hg, wait five minutes and then test your blood pressure again. If your readings are still unusually high, contact your doctor immediately. You could be experiencing a hypertensive crisis. If your blood pressure is higher than 180/120 mm Hg and you are experiencing signs of possible organ damage such as chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, numbness/weakness, change in vision or difficulty speaking, do not wait to see if your pressure comes down on its own. Call 911." And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more