Roughly half of Americans ages 20 or older have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, according to research published in January 2023 by the American Heart Association. It is estimated the condition affects 75 percent of men and women ages 65 or older.
Men may experience damage to blood vessels and arteries, leading to limited blood flow to the penis, which can affect erections, ejaculation and libido.
Less research has been carried out on the effects of hypertension with regard to women's sexual health, though it's suggested it can reduce blood flow to the vagina, lower sex drive and contribute to difficulty having an orgasm.
And that's without getting into the side effects from high blood pressure medications or considering how hypertension increases a person's chance of dying from a heart attack or stroke.
An estimated 1 in 3 people in the United States suffering from high blood pressure are unaware they have it and are not currently undergoing treatment to control the condition.
For National High Blood Pressure Awareness Month, Giddy presents four articles about hypertension: causes, diagnosis and treatment, and how to manage your life safely.