Normal blood pressure is an essential component of overall heart health. However, approximately one third of all adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure , or hypertension. Cardiologists near Phoenix note that this widespread problem significantly raises the risk for more severe forms of heart disease. In fact, what begins as high blood pressure can eventually evolve into a life-threatening condition.
Heart Failure Risks
Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart cannot meet the circulatory demands of the body. In many cases, high blood pressure triggers this problem. When blood pressure puts excessively high forces on the walls of the heart , they compensate by thickening their tissues. This response can ultimately weaken the heart, though, because it is no longer as flexible as it once was. As the effects of hypertension continue to wear down the heart, it can eventually lead to the onset of congestive heart failure.
High cholesterol is often considered the primary risk factor for atherosclerosis, or the collection of fat and cholesterol on the walls of the arteries. However, high blood pressure can also contribute to this form of heart disease. Hypertension can damage the arterial walls, creating small injuries. Scar tissue can then form, which makes it easier for fat and cholesterol in the blood to catch on the arterial walls and accumulate.
Heart Attack Hazards
The effects of high blood pressure on the walls of the arteries can also heighten the danger of heart attacks. As the arteries become weak and clogged with plaque, it becomes more difficult for them to move oxygenated blood to the heart. Should the development of atherosclerosis result in a clot that completely obstructs blood flow, a heart attack can occur. Even a mild heart attack can cause permanent damage to the tissues of the heart and increase the likelihood of other heart conditions such as congestive heart failure, making blood pressure management critical to heart health.
What are your blood pressure numbers? If you don’t know, call Cardiac Solutions at (623) 876-8816. We can measure your blood pressure and recommend treatment strategies if a diagnosis of hypertension is made.