Role of hypertension in the genesis of heart diseases -Hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.Nowadays, hypertension or high blood pressure has become common in people due to their hectic schedules and irregular lifestyle. But you might not know hypertension can cause numerous health issues and be a potent risk to your cardiovascular health.
Hypertension increases the work pressure on the heart, which, in turn, induces both functional and structural changes in the myocardium. It also causes hypertrophy of the left ventricle that leads to heart failure eventually.
So, hypertension heart disease typically refers to the heart conditions caused by high blood pressure. Too high pressure forces your heart to perform harder and pump blood throughout your body. It tends to thicken a part of your heart, which increases the risk of heart attacks, sudden cardiac death, and acute coronary syndrome.
Role of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) in the Origin of Heart Diseases
Chronic high blood pressure is solely responsible for the occurrence of hypertensive heart diseases. And as an outcome of consistently elevated blood pressure level, a constellation of changes occurs in coronary arteries, left ventricle, and left atrium of the heart.
It can lead to systolic failure, diastolic heart failure, or a combination of both.
Also, an excessive amount of strain and damage caused by HBP results in the deposition of cholesterol, fats, and other substances, collectively known as plaque, in coronary arteries.
It blocks the arteries, disturbing blood flow through heart muscles, causing myocardial infarction or heart attack.
Hypertension also causes atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, aortic aneurysm, congestive heart failure, chronic kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral arterial disease.
Types of Hypertensive Heart Diseases
Two different situations can occur due to hypertension. They are as follows:
Narrowing of Arteries
They are coronary arteries that transfer blood to heart muscles. While HBP narrows down the blood vessels, blood flow to the heart can slow or even stop. This condition is known to be CHD or coronary heart disease.
Such a situation makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood to the rest of your organs. And it also enhances the risk of heart attack by a stuck blood clot in one of the narrowed arteries.
Thickening and Enlargement of the Heart
HBP makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively. Thus, regular hard work thickens and enlarges your heart muscles, which, in turn, alters the way your heart functions.
These changes generally occur in the left ventricle, which is the pumping chamber of the heart. And such a condition is known as LVH or left ventricular hypertrophy.
Who are at Utmost Risk for Hypertensive Heart Diseases?
In present times, heart diseases have become a very common thing. And there are certain situations or reasons that cause such issues.
People who are obese, do not exercise enough, addicted to smoking or drinking, and very much prone to junk foods are more susceptible to have hypertensive heart diseases. Primarily, food that is high in cholesterol and fat increases the risk of heart failure, heart attack, and other heart diseases.
Also, if heart-oriented problems already run in someone’s family genetically, even that person lies at a high risk of having cardiovascular issues. However, the risk of heart attack increases with age; thus, people need to take care more after reaching a certain age.
Besides, studies say men are more likely to get different heart disorders compared to women. Nevertheless, a postmenopausal woman lies at equal risk.
For hypertensive situations, the following are a few symptoms that may show up depending on the extremity of your condition and progression of infections.
Shortness of breath
Angina (chest pain)
Leg or ankle swelling
Tightness or pressure in the chest
Loss of appetite
Pain in the shoulders, neck, arms, and back.
Testing & Diagnosis
As soon as you visit your doctor, he/she will review your medical history, along with conducting a physical exam of your body and running some usual lab tests.
First, the doctor will assess your blood pressure.
Nowadays, the blood pressure measurement can be done by an automatic BP measuring instrument. And this device makes it even easy to measure one’s BP at home.
The normal systolic blood pressure range is between 110-155 mm Hg, and the diastolic blood pressure range lies between 60-90 mm Hg.
After coming to the physician’s clinic, the patient should sit relaxed for at least 10 minutes and then get his/ her blood pressure checked. Otherwise, there are chances of getting a false high reading. Blood pressure should be measured once daily and for 5 consecutive days.
If persistent high readings for the first 5 days are noticed, the patient will require an antihypertensive medication from a qualified doctor (MD Medicine).
If too high blood pressure is witnessed, the patient might need to get hospitalized as decided by the treating physician (MD-General Medicine).
Ambulatory care (24 hours blood pressure monitoring) might also be necessary but only in selected cases, as decided by the physician (MD-Medicine), who is in charge of facilitating the proper treatment to the concerned patient.
Doctors usually advise the following blood tests to be conducted on the patient.
Fasting and post-prandial blood sugar
Lipid Profile – Serum cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, VLDL Cholesterol, HDL/LDL ratio, and total triglyceride level
Thyroid function tests – T3, T4, and TSH
Serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen
Serum electrolytes like – Sr Sodium and Serum Potassium.
Here are a few other tests that will help to determine the real cause of your heart-related symptoms.
An electrocardiogram helps to record and monitor the heart’s electrical activity.
An echocardiogram helps to take a detailed picture of the heart using ultrasound.
Coronary angiography is primarily done to examine the blood flow through coronary arteries.
An exercise stress test is typically done to look at how your heart responds to exercises.
A nuclear stress test helps to examine the flow of blood into the heart.
Extreme and persistent hypertension can cause ischemic heart disease, where your heart muscles will lack an adequate amount of oxygen, leading to ultimate death. Thus, if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, rush to your doctor immediately to get treated rightly.
Nevertheless, prevention is always better than care. So, try certain things by yourself, like avoiding stress, stopping smoking, and not consuming tobacco and alcohol. Psychiatric counseling can also be done to quit these addictions as it is done scientifically and systematically.
Also, avoid a diet rich in salt, along with seafood like prawns, as they increase blood cholesterol. However, make sure to add fish to your diet as it increases HDL cholesterol, which is a protective factor against heart attacks.
Besides, try to consume as much homemade food as possible. Refined oil should be utilized as it prevents an increase in cholesterol levels. Outside food should be avoided to a maximum extent, like fried foods, sweets, and high caloric foods.
Moreover, regular physical exercise like walking for a minimum of 45 minutes/ 24 hours has a significant role in preventing cardiac arrests. You can even do meditation and yoga as it helps to reduce stress, which, in turn, can contribute towards maintaining your blood pressure in a normal range.