If you’re diagnosed with high blood pressure or hypertension (when your systolic/diastolic pressure levels exceed 140/90mm and severe when the reading is more than 180/120mm), you’re vulnerable to developing cardiac or heart disease. Of course, other bodily organs including kidneys, eyes, lungs, and brain are also susceptible to getting adversely affected but it is your heart that has to put up with the maximum damage.
On top of that if you don’t take steps to rein in your hypertension and lead a wayward or undisciplined lifestyle you’re likely to develop heart disease and suffer a heart attack sooner than later. Being consistently diagnosed with high blood pressure puts you at risk of becoming disabled or exposed to a life-endangering condition/complication as well.
Nevertheless, you can take heart in the fact that HBP or hypertension is controllable as there are numerous scientific and advanced treatment options open to you. Alternatively, bringing about constructive changes in your current lifestyle also contributes greatly towards maintaining high blood pressure at normal levels.
Arteries are the chief conduits that channelize blood from the heart to other parts of the body as well as transfer the impure fluid back to the circulatory organ. As long as the arteries are healthy, they retain their robustness and elasticity, and oxygenated blood transfer happens efficiently and smoothly thereby supplying the entire body with the vital nutrients it needs to function effectively.
Once it is established and confirmed through blood assays that you have high blood pressure, you become aware that your heart has to put in extra effort in order to pump the blood through the arteries. The increased pressure at which blood passes via the arteries eventually leads to the following health issues:-
- Arterial wall damage-The passage of blood at high pressure on a perpetual basis gradually leads to damage of the cells lining the arterial wall. Constantly battered by the high pressure or force of the flowing blood, the cells get ruptured leading to the formation of scar tissues. Ultimately the arterial walls thicken up owing to the continuous buildup or deposition of LDL cholesterol and fats (arteriosclerosis).
Thickening of the walls constricts or narrows the arterial passage through which the blood passes-a diseased condition called arteriostenosis. Healthy functioning of the arteries is severely compromised due to arteriosclerosis and arteriostenosis. Consequently, normal blood flow to the various bodily organs including the heart is greatly affected.
Arteriostenosis and arteriosclerosis of the arteries which causes a change in their natural structure finally leads up to anginas, peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease, heart failure, heart attack, kidney damage/failure, aneurysms, and so on.
- Arteriosclerosis-Scar tissues formed from ruptured cells in the arterial wall form a latticework or trellis trapping microscopic particles of fat, bad cholesterol, and different substances. Regular deposition of these particles causes plaque formation ultimately hardening up the arterial walls.
- Arteriostenosis-Arteriosclerosis slowly and gradually narrows down the passage or channel through which blood is pumped in and out by a process called vasoconstriction. The medical term for narrowing of the passage is known as arteriostenosis. Unregulated high blood pressure accelerates the process of hardening and constriction of the arteries.
- Aneurysm-With passage of time, the continual flow of blood at an abnormally high pressure is the root cause behind the enlargement of a specific segment of the arterial wall. Gradually, the swelling leads to the development of a bulge or protuberance which is medically termed as aneurysm. Though aneurysms can develop in the artery anywhere in the body but the likelihood is highest in the biggest artery of the body-the aorta. The splitting of an aneurysm which causes internal hemorrhage can prove fatalistic.
Adverse Effects of Hypertension on Heart
Your heart which is the principal blood filtration and circulating organ of the body is always at an elevated risk of suffering irreversible damage from hypertension. Following are some of the diseased conditions of the heart (that most people suffer from) resulting from HBP.
- Heart failure-The continuous flow of blood at an elevated pressure causes the walls of the heart and the chambers (atriums and ventricles) to become weak. The resulting weakening of the muscles of the heart makes the organ function much below its normal efficient level. With passage of time, the heart completely stops functioning thus causing heart failure or attack.
- Peripheral artery disease-Peripheral artery disease or PAD develops or happens due to arteriostenosis when normal blood flow to the lower extremities decreases. Owing to peripheral artery disease, the legs, more specifically the feet become claudicated causing you pain while walking. Atherosclerosis of the arteries that carry blood to the heart also contributes towards the condition blood supply to the peripheral arteries is compromised.
- Coronary artery disease-Coronary artery disease thwarts the smooth or convenient blood flow within the arteries. Restricted flow or movement of blood causes anginas and/or arrhythmia or dysrhythmia where you miss heartbeats. CAD can eventually lead to heart failure or heart attack.
- Cardiomegaly or puffed-up left heart-As your heart is compelled to exert itself in order to maintain blood flow to the rest of the body it becomes enlarged over time since the left lower chamber of the heart (left ventricle) stiffens up. LVT can be fatalistic leading to sudden and unexpected heart attacks.
Detection of Heart Failure
Whether your heart is functioning normally or not can be determined by conducting one or more of the following tests:-
- ECG or EKG
- Blood assays
Criticalities Associated with Hypertension
An extremely high level of blood pressure can in the end lead to the ensuing critical conditions necessitating immediate medical intervention and more often than not, hospitalization:-
- Pulmonary edema
- Heart attack
- Aortic dissection
- Memory loss
Dealing with Hypertension
Heart failures once these occur are incurable but you can always take steps to prevent attacks from happening. For instance, you can take one class of or a combination of different types of hypertensive medications like ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers or diuretics. Each category has its own mechanism of tackling HBP. Therefore, you should always consult a cardiologist before you can start taking medicines for your hypertension. Of course, giving up smoking and reducing alcohol intake, getting regular exercises, and eating healthy foods are some lifestyle changes you can adopt for monitoring hypertension.