Hypertensive heart disease is a name that is given to several heart diseases that are caused by uncontrolled hypertension. The prolonged elevation of the blood pressure causes damage to the coronary arteries and the myocardium or heart muscle which in turn causes issues such as left ventricular hypertrophy. These diseases include congestive heart failure, angina, myocardial infarction, and several different cardiac arrhythmias. The most common being cardiac hypertensive disease is atrial fibrillation.
Some symptoms of hypertensive heart disease include fatigue, swelling of the lower extremities especially the feet, nausea, chest pain, bloating, increased need to urinate, shortness of breath, and the inability to lie flat or sleep lying flat in bed. People who are at higher risk of hypertensive heart disease are those who have had hypertension for long periods of time, people who are overweight or obese, diabetics, people with a family history of heart disease and African Americans.
Cardiomyopathy is one of the most common complications of hypertension. This condition is where the cardiac or heart muscle becomes thicker than it normally would be. It then becomes much harder for it to pump the blood to the body as it has done in the past. The heart has to pump longer and harder to do the work. In this condition or disease one part of the heart may be thicker or has become thickened while other areas of the heart remain normal. Symptoms of this condition include dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, and palpitations. It may result in congestive heart failure and even death.
Hypertension is one of the most common causes of congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure usually develops after prolonged periods of uncontrolled hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy have taken place. This damages the heart muscle causing it to be unable to pump the blood to the body as it once did. The blood and fluids of the body then tend to pool in the extremities. The concern is that fluid will start to accumulate in the lungs if it is not removed from the body tissues which can then become a serious if not fatal condition. Congestive heart failure is a chronic condition that cannot be cured however it can be treated with medication to regulate and strengthen the heart muscle and diuretics to increase the removal of fluids from the tissues of the body. Symptoms of congestive heart failure include swelling of the feet, shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and the inability to lie flat in bed.
Coronary artery disease is another complication of hypertension and a factor in hypertensive heart disease. The coronary arteries are the arterial network that carry the blood to the heart. The arteries carry rich oxygenated blood to the heart muscle so it can function properly. When the heart is damaged due to complications of coronary artery disease it is called coronary heart disease or atherosclerotic heart disease. This disease can lead to myocardial infarction, myocardial ischemia and even death. Unfortunately coronary artery disease frequently is asymptomatic until it causes complications such as those noted above.
Angina is a condition in which chest pain or discomfort is felt when the blood flow through the heart and the coronary arteries has been compromised due to disease such as hypertension. The pain or discomfort is felt due to the heart not getting enough blood and oxygen. When this condition is severe enough that it causes damage of the heart muscle itself a myocardial infarction or heart attack occurs.
Myocardial infarctions are normally caused due to restricted blood flow to the heart for a period of time that is long enough to kill a portion of the heart muscle. The restricted blood flow comes from the coronary arteries. Coronary artery disease can be caused by prolonged uncontrolled hypertension. Once the heart muscle dies or myocardial ischemia takes place, the damage is done as this tissue cannot be regenerated. Symptoms of angina and myocardial infarction include chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, fatigue, and weakness or tingling in the left side or limbs.
Complications of hypertension can be limited if the disease is controlled. The best way to keep this disease under control is to be closely monitored by a medical professional. It is also recommended to eat a healthy diet and exercise while taking your medication on a regular basis to have the best results and keep your blood pressure within normal limits.