Hypertensive heart disease is the most widespread form of illness and death from high blood pressure or hypertension. This disease manifests when the increased pressure of the blood pumping through the heart causes it to over-work. This will lead to the development of the thickened heart muscles. If it is not treated, symptoms of congestive heart failure will generally present themselves and it may also promote the development of ischaemic heart disease. High blood pressure is a widespread cause of heart disease and stroke.
A major symptom of hypertensive heart disease is congestive heart failure. Its symptoms may include:
It is common to experience fatigue or extreme tiredness this may also be combined with general weakness and feeling occasionally faint.
- Oedema: swelling of the feet and ankles
- Irregular or racing pulse
- A strong urge to urinate at night time and often.
- Palpitations may occur that will produce sensations of irregular heart beat.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing is normally associated with physical activity or when lying flat on bed.
- A persistent and pronounced cough which may occur with frothy or bloody mucous.
- Experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Ischaemic heart disease may also occur if hypertensive heart disease is present. The symptoms of this condition include:
Angina Pectoris or chest pain that is aggravated when exposed to cold air, when under extreme emotional stress or when doing physical activity. It may initiate in the chest and radiate to the left arm, neck, jaw and shoulder blades There may be evidence of shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea and sweating.
It may also cause hypertrophic ### cardiomyopathy which will display similar symptoms to other types of heart disease including chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, lightheadedness, fainting and sudden cardiac death.
It is possible to have one of these conditions and experience little or no symptoms.
Diagnosing Hypertensive Heart Disease
The first sign of a heart disease will be discovered during a routine physical examination:
- The blood pressure will be elevated when it is checked.
- By using a stethoscope excess fluid may be detected.
- The heart may be potentially be enlarged
- If the condition has lasted for a long enough time the corresponding symptoms of heart failure will be noticeable.
- An ECG or electrocardiogram will identify any enlargement of the heart, an irregular heartbeat or if there is a profound reduction of oxygen levels in the heart muscle.
Other tests may be utilized to complete diagnosis which will include chest x-ray, echocardiogram and coronary angiogram.
Treatment generally involves decreasing blood pressure and controlling the progression of the disease. The treatment will depend on the conditions that are evident.
It may be treated with medications such as:
- Calcium channel blockers
- Beta blockers
- Direct vasodilators
- Angiotensin II receptor antagonists
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
Intravenous medications may be administered if hypertension is significantly serious.
A recommendation that the individual monitors the blood pressure levels to make certain that the levels are not elevated to a critical point. This may be performed at home with the right device(s).
If high blood pressure is combined with diabetes or any other condition it is essential to control any other pre-exiting disorders.
Lifestyle changes are usually recommended and may include some of the following:
- Reducing the amount of salt will be necessary as sodium has been linked to elevating high blood pressure.
- Consuming a nutritious diet by increasing the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and restricting the consumption of dairy or instead replacing full dairy products with low-fat dairy products.
- Losing excess weight if significantly overweight or obese and maintaining an ideal weight for height and age.
- Consuming poultry, fish and whole grains will also be extremely beneficial.
- Doing regular exercise will improve general health and may help to naturally lower elevated blood pressure levels.
- Restricting the intake of alcohol.
- Eliminating habitual smoking entirely.
The probability of experiencing any complications will be dependent on the alterations to the left ventricle because of consequential enlargement. The greater the enlargement the more likely it is for complications to manifest. Quick treatment of high blood pressure should lessen any damage to the left ventricle.
It has been deduced by studies that anti-hypertensives or blood pressure reducing medications may possibly help correct left ventricular hypertrophy. This means that individuals with heart failure as a result of hypertensive heart disease may extend their overall lifespan. However because the risk of sudden death is possible with this condition predictions concerning longevity cannot be made.
Complications that may arise from the disease include arrhythmia, angina, sudden death, heart attack and heart failure.
It is therefore important for a person to contact a doctor if any of these symptoms present themselves especially if suffering from high blood pressure.
It is important that a course of treatment is followed to ensure the best possible chance of extended survival. Always monitor blood pressure levels to make certain that they are not critically elevated. Do moderate exercises daily, maintain a healthy weight and consult the BMI to find out the healthy weight range for height and age, and consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish, low fat dairy products and poultry. It is essential that an individual does not smoke if hypertensive, as this will only quicken the development of the disease.