How does High Blood Pressure cause Heart Disease
Today’s fast life has many adverse effects on the human
body. One of these is hypertension or high blood pressure. This disease is potentially dangerous
if left untreated as it can lead to heart diseases. Chronic hypertension is one of the most
important causes of heart disease and stroke. An uncontrolled blood pressure puts an added
pressure on the heart. When it pumps harder, it becomes enlarged, making the heart muscle stiff
and unable to function properly. Eventually, the heart weakens and fails as it is forced to work
harder and harder. A person whose heart is under so much strain is at a higher risk of heart
failure, heart attack and even sudden cardiac death. Besides the damage to the heart muscle,
blood vessels are also affected by high blood pressure.
How does High Blood Pressure cause Heart Disease?
Moreover, high blood pressure thickens and hardens the
walls of the arteries, creating further pressure on the heart to pump. This condition is called
atherosclerosis and can lead to stroke or heart attack. Arteries also become more
susceptible to plaque buildup. When this happens, the arteries become narrower and the blood
flow reduces as a result. This leads to coronary artery disease. A person suffering from this
will experience chest pains, irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) and heart attack. According to the
American College of Cardiology, hypertension can also lead to aneurysm, which is a bulge in a
weak spot in the arterial wall. This complication can result in heart attack and stroke.
Besides these problems, elevated levels of blood pressure
can also lead to a cluster of disorders called metabolic syndrome, which also affect the heart
indirectly. Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions which include a thick waist, high
triglycerides, less good cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins) and high bad cholesterol
(low-density lipoproteins), high blood pressure and high insulin levels. A person with these
conditions is at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Another complication arising out of high blood pressure is
the blockage or rupturing of the blood vessels in the brain and in the eye, causing a stroke and
loss of vision. Increased levels of blood pressure can also lead to kidney failure as the blood
vessels in the kidneys become weak.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure does not have very
vivid symptoms. It is only much later that a person realizes that he is suffering from
hypertension. This is why it is better to get yourself checked regularly. If the doctor detects
it, more tests of blood or urine will be performed to confirm the observation and prevent
further deterioration of health. An EKG is also performed to observe any type of irregular
heartbeat. In order to evaluate heart management, the doctor can also suggest an MRI but only if
other tests have indicated the presence of hypertension.
Drugs in the form of calcium channel blockers, alpha
blockers and ACE inhibitors are given to regulate heart beat in patients suffering from high
blood pressure, consequently saving them from heart failure. Diet can also be modified to manage
hypertension. Patients would be advised to avoid sodium, cholesterol rich and fatty foods. They
should use fish, flaxseed oil and those foods that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These will
help them to keep a check on their blood pressure levels.