According to the latest survey conducted by World Health Organization, more than 1 in 5 adults worldwide suffer from high Blood Pressure. Also known as Hypertension, high Blood Pressure refers to a condition where the force of blood against blood vessels consistently remains high. This increases the stress on the artery walls and puts them at risk of getting damaged.
Even when there are no symptoms of high BP, it can keep damaging your body and heart quietly for many years. Hence, in order to keep the cardiovascular diseases at bay and stay heart healthy, it’s essential to manage your BP. But what does high BP have to do with heart diseases? To understand that, it is required to understand how the blood pressure is generated in your arteries in the first place.
Blood Pressure Decoded
The muscles in your heart’s ventricular wall contract and relax continuously in order to maintain the regular supply of blood throughout the body.
When the left ventricle contracts, oxygenated blood is pumped out of the heart and supplied to all the body organs. The pressure in the arteries measured at this moment is the highest and is known as Systolic Pressure.
In between the heart beats, the left ventricle relaxes and refills with blood. At this moment, the pressure reading in your arteries is the lowest and is known as Diastolic Pressure.
The amount of blood your heart pumps as well as the resistance blood encounters in the arteries, both play an important role in determining the blood pressure. In essence, high blood pressure means more work for your heart.
Impacts of High BP
- Damage to the Arteries: A healthy artery is strong, elastic and flexible. However, consistently high Blood Pressure may damage the cells in the inner lining of the arteries. Fat accumulation becomes easier in the damaged arteries, thereby making the arteries narrower and restricting the blood flow even more. Weakened arteries are also more susceptible to burst, and lead to internal bleeding.
- Left Ventricular Hypertrophy: The enlargement of the left ventricle is known as Left Ventricular Hypertrophy. High BP leads to increased workload for your heart. As a result, the main pumping chamber (left ventricle) of the heart enlarges and thickens. The enlarged muscles lose elasticity and eventually are unable to work properly.
- Increased Risk of Coronary artery disease: Uncontrolled Hypertension damages arteries in the long run, which can lead to Coronary Artery Diseases. The blocked and narrow arteries are unable to supply oxygenated blood properly to your heart’s muscles. This may lead to chest pain, heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and several other heart-related disorders.
- Heart Failure: If not managed properly, high BP keeps your heart under stress constantly. The heart muscles keep working harder and harder to ensure the supply of blood to all body organs. But this takes its toll on the heart, and your heart becomes weak over the period of time. In the end, the heart wears out completely and fails to function.
Keeping the Blood Pressure under control
Adopting certain lifestyle changes can significantly help you manage High Blood Pressure. Medication and regular checks may be essential in some cases.
However, taking these basic precautions can help you limit the risks of High Blood Pressure:
- Eat a wholesome and balanced diet. Avoid a high cholesterol diet and junk foods.
- Say no to excessive salt.
- Stay physically active and maintain a healthy weight.
- Break free from alcohol and tobacco addiction.
- Practice yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques to reduce stress.
For the sake of your heart, put a stopper on the rising Blood Pressure as soon as it is detected.