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Video transcript

so once you have hypertension or high blood pressure there are a lot of potential complications that can start to crop up as a result many of which you might not necessarily think of or associate with hypertension but they can and definitely do happen and we can sort of split these complications up into three categories the first of which is those that involve the head in the brain specifically a major complication is hypertensive retinopathy what is that well the first part of retinopathy means retina and then pathy is disease so this is a disease of the retina and you retina is this critical component of your eyes you wouldn't be able to see the world as you do without it it's the innermost layer of your eye and it takes in light and then helps transmit that light as an image to your brain it's sort of like if your eye was a camera and then your retina would be the film and depending on which part of the retina the light hits it'll send that information to your brain through these nerve fibers for development into an image now this piece of film like anywhere in the body needs oxygen right and where does he get that oxygen from well your blood vessels but if those blood vessels are damaged due to hypertension and you can start having vision problems and eye doctors or ophthalmologists can take pictures of your eyes and actually see the damage to the tiny arteries in your eyes due to hypertension this is a pretty typical image of your retina and if hypertensive retinopathy is present you'll often be able to see this leakage of blood in these pictures due to weakened blood vessels now the other major complication that can come about from hypertension that might be a little more familiar is stroke and since your brains in Oregon arguably one of the most important organs you have it obviously needs a very solid and dependable supply of blood at all times right well if the arteries that supply a certain part of your brain with oxygen get clogged or if they burst even from being too weak your brain might not receive enough blood and within minutes those oxygen starved brain cells can start to die off and whatever function that part of the brain has might be lost all right so the next major category is complications to the heart specifically hypertension can be a major major contributor to heart failure where the heart doesn't pump as well as it once did and what can happen with heart failure is that you get left ventricular hypertrophy which is muscle growth of your left ventricle since there's more resistance in your blood vessels your heart now has to work harder to pump blood right especially the left ventricle since it sends blood to your body in your organs similarly to how your biceps bulk up from lifting weights your left ventricle gets bigger from pumping harder unfortunately though hypertrophy of the left ventricle isn't a healthy adaptation to an increased workload and this change in shape of the left ventricle actually causes a decrease in pumping ability and that's when the heart begins to fail now another major affect to the heart is coronary artery disease in the same way that other organs need blood to survive your heart needs its own supply of blood to survive - so the coronary arteries supply the myocardium or the heart muscle with blood and these can become narrowed or weakened from hypertension and form these clots that sort of block off the blood supply to the heart's muscles and without a blood supply those cells can start to die off which can cause what's known as a heart attack also known as a myocardial infarction now the final category is peripheral artery disease which we sometimes abbreviate PA d and this is an atherosclerosis or a buildup of plaque in the body outside the vessels of the heart the head in the brain kind of a catch-all category for things not in the last - which is why we call them peripheral arteries now some of the most commonly affected areas are the blood vessels that carry oxygen to your legs your arms your stomach or your kidneys decreased oxygen supply due to weakened or blocked arteries from hypertension to really any part of the peripheral organs or tissues can cause things like ulcers gangrene and loss of tissue in the affected area the kidneys specifically though deserve special attention because they tend to be a very common organ that can be damaged by hypertension if plaque builds up or the arteries weakened and you get a reduced blood flow to the kidneys then they can become damaged and their function can be reduced just like any other organ but what's their function well the kid needs help you regulate fluid volume in your body right like at any time they decide if you need more or less blood so if their arteries get blocked they'll see this reduced blood flow and be like hey we must be dehydrated or something because there's way less fluid and then they'll release some hormones that cause the body to hold on to more fluid which has the effect of increasing your flow and therefore increasing your blood pressure also with less oxygen reaching the kidney cells just like any other organs and tissues that can be injured and even start to die off which makes it even harder for them to do their job of balancing fluids