Blood pressure of a body is determined by the blood pumped by the heart and the resistance to blood flow in the arteries. High blood pressure is an alarming condition and also the prime cause of death due to hypertensive heart diseases. High blood pressure or high BP raises the heat of the body to extreme levels which when functioning under extreme pressure leads to acute heart disorders such as heart failure, thickening of the heart muscle, coronary heart disease, and several other serious conditions. Hypertensive heart diseases are very critical and could also lead to death. High blood pressure causes excessive strain on the blood causing the coronary arteries to become narrowed over time due to the build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances. This build-up of plaque is also called atherosclerosis. Due to build-up of plaque over time, the arteries serving the heart harden, and blood clots tend to block the proper flow of blood through the heart leading to deprivation of oxygen and essential nutrients in the heart creating possible conditions for a heart attack.
Today, hypertensive heart diseases are one of the major causes of heart attacks and also have a very high record of heart attacks leading to death. Hence, it is very important to get a deeper knowledge of hypertensive heart diseases, its types, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
Types of hypertensive heart diseases
The various kind of hypertensive heart diseases associated with high BP includes:
Narrowed arteries: High blood pressure causes the arteries to become blocked due to the formation of blood clots caused by excess build-up plaque over time. These blocked blood vessels lead to a slow or stoppage of blood flow in the heart causing critical damage. The restricted blood flow of the heart interferes in its proper functioning and affects other organs simultaneously, leading to a heart attack in many cases.
Thickened and enlarged heart: Also known as ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), this condition occurs when due to excessive pressure the heart faces difficulty in pumping blood leading to improper functioning of the heart. The heart has to work more to pump blood and hence, becomes more stressed. This leads to thickening and enlargement of the heart, while at the same time compresses the coronary arteries putting the person at extreme risk of heart failure, arrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, stroke or sudden death.
That said, today hypertensive heart diseases cause a large number of deaths in the country and need more awareness and vigilance. High blood pressure also causes increased risk to your brain and can lead to problems such as stroke, dementia, cognitive impairment, etc. It is also very harmful for the kidneys, eyes, and decreases your sexual ability. High blood pressure combined with factors listed below can increases the risk of hypertensive heart disease.
- Overweight or obesity
- Lack of physical activity
- Excessive alcohol
- Unhealthy eating habits
- High cholesterol
- Excessive salt in the diet
- Lack of potassium
Also, hypertensive heart diseases are likely to occur if it runs in the family. The risk of hypertensive heart disease also increases with the passing of age for both – men and women.
While it is important to know the cause of hypertensive heart diseases it is also very critical to identify symptoms to know when to seek medical help. You could have high blood pressure for years and not witness any symptoms, while on the other hand, you might experience the below symptoms quite early if you have high BP.
Symptoms of hypertensive heart disease include:
- Acute chest pain
- Pressure or tightness in the chest
- Intense and persistent cough
- Lack of appetite
- Excessive sweating
- Increased urination at night
- Swelling in leg or ankle
- Excessive pain in body parts such as the neck, back, arms or shoulders
- Sudden erratic heartbeats
- Irregular pulse rate
These are some common symptoms that vary depending on person-to-person and severity of the condition. One should always be cautious lookout for symptoms, as well as get regular check-ups and doctor consultation to check on health especially the blood pressure. A doctor might use any of such tests – electrocardiogram, coronary angiography, stress test, and nuclear stress test – to determine the condition of the heart.
Diagnosis of hypertensive heart problem
- High blood pressure
- Enlarged heart
- Irregular heartbeat
- Build-up of fluid in the lungs
- Heart murmurs
The kind of treatment suggested for hypertensive heart disease depends on the seriousness of the condition, age, and medical history. Foremost, the doctors will treat the high blood pressure that is the main problem causing hypertensive heart diseases and otherwise advice medications or suggest surgery in serious cases. More importantly, a lot of lifestyle changes such as a healthy diet, right weight, no smoking, no alcohol, and regular health check-ups go a long way in detecting and curing hypertensive heart diseases.