Hypertension is a condition that is commonly referred to as high blood pressure and is characterized by increased force of blood in your arteries. This change is not normal and leads to various issues, which we are going to discuss in detail. Here’s how hypertension, heart disease, and stroke are related to one another.
The Link Between These Conditions
High blood pressure or hypertension poses a significant threat to heart disease and stroke. The increased force of blood in the arteries lessens its supply to the heart; this serves as the reason for developing heart disease. On the other hand, high blood pressure damages the arteries of the brain, increasing the risk of a stroke.
Connecting Hypertension and Heart Disease
Hypertension impacts arteries and the heart muscle alike. High blood pressure stiffens arteries and accentuates plaque buildup, leading to a condition known as atherosclerosis. Because of this, the heart increases its pressure as a means of compensation by thickening its muscle, resulting in a loss of elasticity. All these deviations reduce blood flow, making way for heart disease conditions like coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and heart failure.
Can Hypertension Cause Stroke?
Hypertension contributes to stroke in two ways:
- As ischemic stroke
- Hemorrhagic stroke
The increased level of pressure strains arteries that supply blood to the brain, leading to blockages and resulting in an ischemic stroke. Furthermore, this loss of strength may lead to a hemorrhagic stroke, where an artery bursts, causing sudden bleeding in or near the brain.
Blood Pressure Readings
Decoding blood pressure readings is a crucial step to understanding this condition. These readings are termed:
- Systolic is the force in your arteries while your heart beats and pushes blood.
- Diastolic is the measure of pressure against your arteries between heartbeats.
- Normal – systolic: Less than 120 mm Hg and diastolic: less than 80 mm Hg
- Stage 1 hypertension – systolic: 130–139 mm Hg and diastolic: 80–89 mm Hg
- Stage 2 hypertension – systolic: 140 or higher mm Hg and diastolic: 90 or higher mm Hg
Symptoms and Diagnosis
High blood pressure manifests as a silent condition and presents itself as:
- Elevated blood pressure readings
- Blood spots in the eyes (severe cases)
Lowering Blood Pressure
The good news is that hypertension is manageable by lifestyle changes and medication to lower blood pressure, lessening the risk of heart disease and stroke. Changes that make a difference include:
- Weight management
- Regular exercise
- Limiting sodium intake
- Reducing alcohol
- Smoking cessation
- Managing stress levels
- Proper medication
By choosing healthy lifestyle habits and medical intervention, you can significantly reduce the risk of these serious health conditions. If you want help regarding your condition, contact Dr. Shanti Bansal – board-certified in Internal Medicine (2010), Nuclear Cardiology (2011), Cardiology (2011), and Electrophysiology (2013) at Atrial Fibrillation Centers of America, to deal with all aspects of your cardio needs. You can consult us at (832) 402-9899 or visit us in Houston, TX, for more information.