High blood pressure and heart disease are becoming more and more common within hospitals globally. This comes as no surprise due to the correlation in the increase of the diagnosis for obesity and people being overweight. High blood pressure and heart disease are often linked, due to the consequences they have on one another. This article will look at how high blood pressure may cause heart disease.
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, or ‘hypertension’ if given its correct medical name, is the name given to a condition in which the pressure and rate of blood flow through the body is too high. This can be dangerous to the regulation of blood flow and for the correct function of the vital organs around the body. As high blood pressure usually originates within the blood vessels of the heart (where the build-up of plaque or atheroma causes a restriction of blood vessel size), it is usually the heart muscle which suffers the most.
How can high blood pressure cause heart disease?
High blood pressure is caused by the restriction of blood through the arteries. This can be caused due to the build-up or accumulation of atheroma and therefore lead to a person suffering from atherosclerosis – the plaque build-up of LDL cholesterol which can cause the hardening (calcification) of the arteries. As the arteries harden, it becomes more difficult for the blood to flow normally; this raises the blood pressure as the fluid is squeezed and pressurized more by the walls of the artery.
Heart disease or coronary heart disease (when the coronary arteries are affected) is the term given when the blood vessels of the heart become blocked and possibly lead to a heart attack or the condition known as angina (chest pains). As high blood pressure means that the blood vessels are already under stress and are being constricted, having hypertension therefore increases your risk of developing heart disease. Due to the restriction of the arteries under high pressure, blood clots are more likely to cause a complete blockage of the blood vessel – causing a heart attack.
High blood pressure and heart disease have been linked with genetic factors; however they can both be reduced and even prevented by consuming a healthy diet that is low in salt and saturated fats, exercising regularly and not involving yourself in detrimental activities such as smoking or the excess drinking of alcohol. Therefore, despite the prospects of these two health conditions being a little scary and daunting, there are many simple ways an choices that you can make to reduce your risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) or coronary heart disease (CHD).