What are the effects of high blood pressure on the heart? It is a silent disease that can seriously damage your heart health. Find out what they are and what symptoms they produce.
Taking care of our blood pressure is essential when it comes to enjoying good health, and not suffering from certain diseases and related pathologies. However, the reality is that we do not tend to worry about it until it is elevated and we have become aware of it, either because we have suffered some symptom or sign, or because it has been found elevated by pure chance.
But do you know what blood pressure is and what does it consist of? It basically consists of the pressure exerted by the heart on the arteries so that they can be able to conduct blood to the different organs of our body, through the bloodstream. In this way, while the maximum pressure is that obtained when the heart contracts, the minimum pressure is that produced when the heart relaxes.
In this sense, it is considered that a blood pressure is normal when the maximum levels of systolic blood pressure are between 120-129 mmHg, and the maximum levels of diastolic blood pressure are between 80 and 84 mmHg. However, it is considered normal-high when the systolic pressure is between 130-139 mmHg, and the diastolic (minimum) pressure is between 80-89 mmHg.
High blood pressure is considered a cardiovascular risk factor, since it supposes a greater resistance for the heart. Therefore, it can cause serious damage to the heart if it is not medically treated and controlled. In fact, since it is a condition that can go unnoticed by not causing symptoms at first, it is recommended from the age of 40 to take your blood pressure with some regularity.
What are the effects of hypertension on the heart? Why does it hurt you so much?
When there is hypertension, the heart must work harder in order to pump blood to the aorta (the main artery). That is, high blood pressure causes increased resistance to the heart.
As a consequence, the heart responds by increasing its muscle mass, having to adapt to this increased stress, so that it thickens and produces what is medically known as left ventricular hypertrophy.
But not only has this thickening of the different fibers of the heart muscle occurred. A greater connective tissue also develops between the different muscle fibers, producing the “hypertensive heart”, so that the heart muscle becomes increasingly rigid. In other words, it is as if the heart entered a constant process of reconstruction, becoming thicker.
The symptom of this effect is more than evident: dyspnea on exertion arises, so that the affected person usually has difficulty breathing (and shortness of breath), when making any type of effort.
Chest pain can also occur, because blood flow to the heart muscle does not tend to keep pace with the growth of the muscle itself. As a consequence, the smaller arteries that run through it are usually contracted, putting oxygen supply at risk.
Symptoms of high blood pressure in the heart
As we explained in the previous lines, high blood pressure not treated medically becomes a very dangerous risk factor for heart health. Its most common symptoms are the following:
- Hypertrophy of the heart muscle: Popularly known by the name of “hypertensive heart”, there is a thickening of the different fibers of the heart muscle, in turn developing a greater amount of connective tissue between the muscle fibers.
- Dyspnea on exertion: Due to the stiffness of the heart muscle, the affected person often gets tired when exerting some effort, feeling it as shortness of breath and shortness of breath.
- Microangiopathy: Since the smaller arteries of the heart muscle are often constricted due to high pressure, both oxygen and nutrient supply can be compromised.
- Arrhythmia: Alteration of the heart rhythm.
- Arteriosclerosis: Hypertension is a direct cause of hardening of the arteries.
- Angina pectoris: It feels like a pressure or oppressive pain that is located in the chest, and may be accompanied by pain in the shoulders and arms, the back, the jaw and the neck. Indigestion may also arise.
As we can see, high blood pressure can be a direct enemy for the health of our heart. So, we must adopt healthy measures and adopt a healthy lifestyle to take care not only of the heart, but our blood pressure.