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*European society of cardiology. One in five young adults in India has high blood pressure. Last updated on: November 2018. [Online]. Available from: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/One-in-five-young-adults-in-India-has-high-blood-pressure. Accessed on: 14.11.2019.
1 in every 5 young adults in India has high blood pressure.*
It’s time to get your BP checked.
*European society of cardiology. One in five young adults in India has high blood pressure. Last updated on: November 2018. [Online]. Available from: https://www.escardio.org/The-ESC/Press-Office/Press-releases/One-in-five-young-adults-in-India-has-high-blood-pressure. Accessed on: 14.11.2019.
Risk Factors for High Blood Pressure
Family History
Diabetes
Smoking
Unhealthy Diet
Obesity
Alcohol Use

Any one of the above risk factors can increase your risk of high blood pressure. Get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Reference:

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Know Your Risk for High Blood Pressure. Reviewed: February 24, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/risk_factors.htm. Last assessed on 04.04.2022.
Know more about Hypertension

Nearly 1.13 billion of global population living in low- and middle-income countries is estimated to have hypertension or high blood pressure. It is significant in the view that hypertension effect on heart may contribute to a number of heart-related problems including hypertensive heart disease.

Hypertensive heart disease is characterized by a set of changes in the coronary arteries, left atrium, and left ventricle, caused due to longtime elevated blood pressure. Hypertension and heart is a dangerous combination as it may lead to detrimental changes in the structure and function of myocardium (the muscular tissue of the heart), which is called as the hypertensive myocardial remodeling.

Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is another major complication associated with the absence of a cause other than arterial hypertension. Hypertensive LVH can lead to disturbances of cardiac function and electric activity. It is a life-threatening condition as it can contribute to either systolic or diastolic heart failure, or a combination of the two. These patients have higher risk of developing acute complications like acute coronary syndrome, decompensated heart failure, or sudden cardiac death.

There are two broad hypertensive heart disease types:

Narrowing of the Arteries

Coronary arteries are engaged in transporting blood to the heart muscle. With high blood pressure causing narrowing of the blood vessels, blood supply to the heart either ceases or slows, a condition referred to as coronary heart disease (CHD).

CHD affects heart’s ability to supply enough blood to other organs, which increases the risk of developing a blood clot. This blood clot when gets stuck in one of the narrowed arteries, it may terminate blood flow to your heart, thus resulting in a heart attack.

Thickening and Heart Enlargement

As the blood pressure rises, heart has to work hard to pump blood. Like other muscles in the body, increased effort to perform its functions results in thickening and growing of heart muscles. This thickening primarily affects the functioning of the left ventricle, the main pumping chamber of the heart. That is why condition is called as the left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).

Since hypertension increases heart attack risk, anybody who is hypertensive or has risk of hypertension is susceptible to develop hypertensive heart disease.

The risk factors can be divided into two categories:

Listed here some common heart disease or heart attack symptoms that all should be aware of:

  1. Who You Are
  2. Risks that Can be Mitigated
Who You Are

Family History: Anyone whose parents or close blood relatives have high blood pressure is more vulnerable to develop the problem.

Age: The risk of higher blood pressure and associated illnesses grows with age. Aging can make blood vessels to lose some of their elastic quality, thereby increasing the risk of increased blood pressure.

Gender: While men have increased risk of high blood pressure till the age of 64, women’s vulnerability to high blood pressure increases at 65 and onwards.

Modifiable risk factors

There are some hypertensive heart disease causes that can be prevented and managed with effective lifestyle changes, like:

Insufficient Physical Activity: People who don’t spare time for physical activity or exercising have higher risk of developing high blood pressure and related illnesses like hypertensive heart disease.

Unhealthy Eating Habits: Those who are consuming a diet rich in sodium, saturated and trans- fat, and sugar have an additional risk of high blood pressure.

Overweight or Obesity: Extra weight puts an extra strain on circulatory system and increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Too Much Drinking: Heavy use of alcohol may lead to many health problems, including arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and heart failure among others.

High cholesterol: It is estimated that over half of people with hypertension reported high cholesterol.

Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes also exposed to the risk of hypertensive heart disease In addition, tobacco use, smoking, and stress are also linked to hypertensive heart disease.

Hypertensive heart disease symptoms varies in different individuals and are subject to the severity of the condition and progression of the condition. At the same time, some people may not experience the classic hypertension symptoms. However, it is important to watch out for some common signs including:

Angina: Angina is chest discomfort or chest pain caused due to insufficient supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. It may also feel like pressure, fluttering or tightness in the chest.

Shortness of breath: People with the high blood pressure problem may experience breathlessness or shortness of breath even after minimum activity level.

Fatigue: As the condition affects blood supply to the vital organs, the individuals tend to experience fatigue, tiredness, lightheadedness, dizziness and feeling like faint.

Pain and Numbness: Like other heart-related problems, hypertensive heart disease may produce pain, numbness, coldness or weakness or coldness in arms, legs, neck, shoulders, jaw, throat or upper abdomen.

In addition, loss of appetite, racing or slow heartbeat, and persistent coughs are also among the hypertensive heart disease symptoms.

Hypertensive heart disease diagnosis begins with the review of one’s medical history and prevalence and severity of relevant symptoms. It is then followed by a physical exam and subsequent lab tests.

One or more of the following tests are recommended for hypertensive heart disease testing:

  • Electrocardiogram to monitor and record electric activity of the heart
  • Echocardiogram, in which an ultrasound is used to take an elaborate picture of the heart
  • Coronary angiography to examine the blood flow through the coronary arteries
  • Exercise stress (generally a treadmill test or TMT) is used to know the effect of exercise on the heart.

Hypertensive heart disease treatment depends on one’s age, medical history and severity of the illness.

Once the diagnosis is made, following treatment approaches may be considered:

Medication

Medications are prescribed to improve blood flow, lower cholesterol and prevent blood clotting. Common heart medications include

  • Aspirin to prevent blood clots
  • Statins to treat high cholesterol
  • Nitrates to treat chest pain
  • Water pills to help lower blood pressure
  • ACE inhibitors to help lower blood pressure

Surgery

In extreme cases when medication is not able to treat blockage, surgeries including Coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) or a heart transplant may be performed to increase blood flow to the heart. A pacemaker (a battery-operated device) needs to be implanted in the chest to help regulate heart’s rate or rhythm.

There’s no better cure than prevention. Like other illnesses, hypertension prevention is a possibility too. Some below discussed minor changes in lifestyle also help in the prevention and control of hypertension, which is one of prime causes of hypertensive heart disease.

Eat Healthy Diet

Eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits as well as the foods containing fiber, protein potassium. Avoid intake of salt (sodium), carbonated beverages and saturated fat.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight or obese is associated with increased risk for high blood pressure.

Get Moving

Physical activity is an effective way to maintain healthy weight and keep your blood pressure under control. At least 30 minutes a day, five days a week of moderate-intensity exercise, such as bicycling or brisk walking can prove effective.

Quit Smoking

Smoking increases the risk of heart diseases multi-fold.

Control Alcohol Consumption

Keeping alcohol consumption to minimum is an effective way to safeguard heart against illnesses.

In addition, sleeping well, avoiding stress and practicing mindfulness also help in diminishing the risk.

Making India Heartstrong is a noble initiative to make people aware about heart diseases and associated comorbidities, and also provide guidance to help prevent the risk of developing any complications.

With an aim to educate people about potential risk factors that affect heart health and increase heart disease risk, we provide you with useful resources and information to know about heart disease risk and take necessary steps, if required.

Nonetheless,we request you to not become your own doctors. If your genetic history or the signs discussed here raise a suspicion, see your doctor for either clearing your doubts or for further course of action.

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Hypertension Facts

Lifestyle changes to lower blood pressure

You can maintain your blood pressure in a healthy state by living a healthy lifestyle.

  • Choose a healthy diet, eat a variety of foods rich in potassium, fiber, and protein and lower in salt (sodium) and saturated fat.
  • Keep yourself at a healthy weight
  • Be physical activity for about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  • Do not smoke
  • Limit how much alcohol you drink
  • Get enough sleep

Reference:

  • National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Prevent High Blood Pressure.
  • Reviewed: February 24, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/prevent.htm Accessed on 04.04.2022.

Blogs and Articles on Hypertension

Anxiety, Heart, Panic: A Fearful Circle (But Manageable Too)
Date : 23rd May 2022
Low Aerobic Exercise: Weight Loss (Without Pain Or Strain)
Date : 21st April 2022
How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to a Heart Attack?
Date : 27th May 2021

Reference:

  • American Heart Association. Getting Active to Control High Blood Pressure. Reviewed: Oct 31, 2016. Available at https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/getting-active-to-control-high-blood-pressure?msclkid=89a3936eb3e711ec919fb9d6675f9b1c. Last assessed on 04.04.2022.

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