How Does Hypertension Affect Your Heart?

Hypertension affects millions of Americans. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t aware of the dangers it creates for the heart.

Dr. Mark L. Meyer and our team at Madison Avenue Cardiology specialize in diagnosing, treating, and preventing heart disease. Check these facts about uncontrolled blood pressure and the damage it can cause to your heart.

Understanding hypertension

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is consistently too high. This condition is often asymptomatic, earning it the title of a "silent" threat.

Persistently elevated blood pressure can lead to severe cardiovascular complications if left untreated, including stiffening and narrowing of the arteries supplying blood flow to your heart, brain, kidneys, and other vital organs.

Fortunately, hypertension is often easily treated with medication and lifestyle modifications, preventing it from threatening your health. 

How hypertension affects the heart

Uncontrolled blood pressure can affect the heart in numerous ways, including:

Increasing the heart’s workload

When your blood pressure is elevated, your heart must work harder to pump blood throughout your body. 

Over time, this increased workload can cause the heart muscles to thicken, leading to a condition known as left ventricular hypertrophy. This thickening of the heart muscle impairs its ability to pump blood effectively, setting the stage for further complications.

Atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease

Hypertension is a major contributor to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) in the arteries. 

As these plaques accumulate, they narrow the arteries and restrict blood flow. This can lead to coronary artery disease, depriving the heart muscle of the oxygen and nutrients it needs and greatly increasing your risk of a heart attack.

Heart failure

Prolonged hypertension can lead to heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump blood efficiently and keep up with the demands of the rest of your body.

The combination of increased workload, thickened heart muscles, and reduced blood supply related to uncontrolled hypertension culminates in heart failure. This condition has serious health consequences, eventually affecting your breathing, mobility, and overall well-being.

Increased risk of heart attack and stroke

Hypertension significantly increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes. The narrowed arteries associated with high blood pressure can become vulnerable to the formation of blood clots. If a clot blocks an artery supplying blood to the heart or brain, it can result in a heart attack or stroke.

Preventing and managing hypertension

Your experience at Madison Avenue Cardiovascular — New York’s premier private cardiology practice — starts with a thorough exam and evaluation of your overall health. Based on those results, Dr. Meyer creates a personalized treatment and prevention strategy that may include:

Lifestyle modifications

Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle can play a crucial role in preventing and managing hypertension. This includes maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, engaging in regular physical activity, managing stress, limiting alcohol, and smoking cessation.

Medication

If lifestyle changes don’t lower your blood pressure sufficiently, Dr. Meyer may prescribe medication to bring it under control. For a successful outcome, take these prescribed medications consistently, even when your blood pressure drops to acceptable levels.

Schedule an evaluation at Madison Avenue Cardiovascular today. Call our office in Midtown Manhattan, New York, or request an appointment online. Dr. Meyer also offers a fee-based concierge service for internal medicine needs outside of cardiology.

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