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High Blood Pressure: Can hypertension lead to serious health issues like heart attacks? Read this

Chronic hypertension can cause coronary artery disease, aneurysms, heart enlargement, and heart failure, which can lead to heart attacks. Prevention of these major cardiovascular issues requires blood pressure regulation.
 

High Blood Pressure: Can hypertension lead to serious health issues like heart attacks? Read this RBA
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First Published Jun 4, 2024, 7:30 AM IST

High blood pressure or hypertension has health implications for almost all organs and organ systems of the body, including the heart. Many studies have established hypertension as a high-risk factor for several heart health issues, including heart attack. At the outset, chronic hypertension or uncontrolled hypertension forces your heart to work harder than normal, which may lead to congestive heart failure and heart attack.

Discussed here are some ways in which high blood pressure affects the heart health, eventually leading to heart attacks:

Coronary artery disease – In hypertensive conditions, blood flows at a higher force within the blood vessels, exerting continuous pressure on the vessel walls. This may lead to weakening and degeneration of the vessel walls, triggering inflammatory changes within the vessel walls, loss of elasticity, and narrowing of the vessel walls, collectively leading to plaque build-up in the arteries or atherosclerosis. These atherosclerotic plaques can either restrict blood flow or break off and cause blockages, leading to heart attacks.

High Blood Pressure: Can hypertension lead to serious health issues like heart attacks? Read this RBA

Aneurysm - Aneurysm is a condition where a bulge forms due to the inflammatory changes in the vessel walls. Aneurysms can form in any artery, the most common being the aortic aneurysm – an aneurysm in the aorta (Aorta – the main artery from the heart and the largest artery of the body). The aneurysm can split or burst open, cause life-threatening bleeding, or block the blood flow from the heart to other organs and lead to stroke, heart attack, or death.

High Blood Pressure: Can hypertension lead to serious health issues like heart attacks? Read this RBA

Heart Enlargement—As mentioned above, chronic or uncontrolled hypertension forces your heart to work harder. The heart has to exert excessive pressure to pump blood to the rest of the body. Over time, this leads to enlargement and thickening of the heart muscles and chambers, particularly the left ventricle, resulting in left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). LVH is associated with an increased risk of heart failure, heart attack, and death due to sudden cardiac arrest (a condition where the heart suddenly stops beating).

Heart Failure—Since the heart constantly overworkes in hypertensive conditions, heart muscles undergo fatigue and lose their functional efficiency. This eventually affects the heart's pumping capacity. The heart doesn’t pump blood as sufficiently as it should, a condition called heart failure. Since a heart attack occurs when there is reduced blood flow to a section of the heart, typically due to a blockage or demand-supply mismatch, heart failure may lead to a heart attack.

High Blood Pressure: Can hypertension lead to serious health issues like heart attacks? Read this RBA

To conclude, chronic hypertension is a significant risk to heart health as it may lead to coronary artery disease, aneurysms, heart enlargement, and heart failure, all of which can result in heart attack. Effective management of blood pressure is crucial to prevent these serious cardiovascular complications.

-This article is written by Dr. Kumar Kenchappa, Consultant – Interventional Cardiologist, Manipal Hospital Hebbal

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