Hypertensive heart disease is a term for heart conditions caused by high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause an increased workload for the heart, leading to various heart disorders.
Hypertensive heart disease is a serious medical condition and can lead to conditions such as coronary artery disease (CAD), heart failure, and thickening of the heart muscle. It may also lead to sudden cardiac death. Hypertensive heart disease is responsible for around
This article looks at the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of hypertensive heart disease. It also looks at prevention and the outlook for the disease.
The causes of hypertensive heart disease depend on the type of disease a person has. Types of hypertensive heart disease
Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH)
In LVH, high blood pressure prevents the heart from pumping blood effectively. As the heart has to work harder than usual to move blood around the body, the heart muscles grow larger and become thicker.
The thicker, enlarged heart muscles affect how the heart functions, and the left ventricle of the heart becomes weak and stiff. This can prevent the heart from pumping blood healthily.
Coronary artery disease (CAD)
High blood pressure can narrow coronary arteries, which bring oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
CAD makes it difficult for the heart to supply blood to the organs and can increase the risk of heart attack. It can also cause blood clots that can entirely cut off blood flow to the heart.
CAD is the
LVH and CAD are bidirectional, and one can cause the other. A person with LVH has an enlarged heart, which can cause the arteries to compress and narrow. In a person with CAD, the heart becomes overworked, which can cause it to enlarge and thicken.
The symptoms of hypertensive heart disease can vary depending on a person’s specific condition and its severity.
- pain or pressure in the chest
- a persistent cough
- pain in the shoulders, neck, and back
- shortness of breath
- swelling in the ankles or legs
- low appetite
A doctor may perform several tests to help diagnose hypertensive heart disease. These can
- a panel of blood tests called a lipid panel
- a panel of blood tests called a basic metabolic panel (BMP)
- complete blood count (CBC) test
- an electrocardiogram (EKG)
- an echocardiogram
- urine tests
Whether hypertensive heart disease is treatable depends on the type and severity of the disease a person has. In some cases, lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure can help prevent heart problems.
In other, more severe cases, medication and even surgery may not be effective, and the disease may be untreatable.
A doctor will decide on treatment for hypertensive heart disease based on the type and severity of the disease a person has, and their personal health history. Treatment can involve medication and surgery.
A doctor may treat hypertension with a combination of the following medications:
- calcium channel blockers, which increase the flow of oxygen and blood to the heart
- vasodilators, which relax the smooth muscles in the arteries to widen blood vessels
- beta-blockers, which lower the amount of stress on blood vessels and the heart
- thiazide diuretics, which cause the body to expel more salt and water
- angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, which help keep blood vessels open to improve blood flow
In severe cases, a person may require surgery, or the implantation of certain devices, including:
- Pacemaker: A doctor can implant a pacemaker, which uses electrical stimulation to contract the heart muscles. This helps regulate and maintain a healthy heart rhythm.
- Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD): The ICD can monitor the heart and provide an electric shock when necessary to correct the heart’s rhythm.
- Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG): CABG involves surgeons taking a blood vessel from the leg, chest, or arm and attaching it above a blocked artery to the heart to restore blood flow.
The most effective way to prevent hypertensive heart disease is to prevent high blood pressure.
A person should monitor their blood pressure regularly and make lifestyle adjustments to improve it. These
- Maintaining a modest weight, as obesity and overweight increase the risk of high blood pressure.
- Eating a nutritious diet that includes fruits, vegetables, potassium, protein, and fiber and avoiding foods high in salt, added sugar, and saturated fat.
- Stopping smoking if you smoke and limiting alcohol intake.
- Exercising regularly for at least
2 hours and 30 minutesper week.
- Ensuring adequate quality sleep, which can help improve blood vessel and heart health.
The outlook for hypertensive heart disease varies and depends on the specific type of disease, other health conditions a person may have, and other factors.
However, the disease is chronic, or long lasting, and carries an increased risk of cardiovascular death.
High blood pressure can contribute to severe health conditions, including CAD, aortic aneurysm, congestive heart failure, and chronic kidney disease, which can significantly worsen a person’s health.
People with some types of hypertensive heart disease, such as atrial fibrillation or heart failure, have a very poor outlook. Hypertensive heart disease can significantly increase a person’s risk of death.
It’s important that a person monitors their blood pressure closely to help prevent hypertensive heart disease from occurring or becoming severe.
Hypertensive heart disease is a group of diseases high blood pressure causes. High blood pressure can significantly affect heart function, resulting in severe health conditions.
Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is a type of hypertensive heart disease in which high blood pressure causes the heart to work harder than usual, and become thicker and enlarged. This affects the heart’s ability to pump blood.
Another type of hypertensive heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD). With CAD, high blood pressure causes blood vessels to narrow which stops blood from flowing properly.
Making lifestyle adjustments can help a person try to prevent high blood pressure. Doctors can treat hypertensive heart disease with medication or surgery. However, in severe cases, the disease is untreatable, and a person may be at risk of cardiac death.