What Is Hypertensive Heart Disease?
Hypertensive Heart Disease is the name given to a collection of diseases caused due to hypertension. As stated it is not a single disease condition but a collection of various disorders related to a single medical condition which in this case is hypertension. Some of the medical conditions which come under Hypertensive Heart Disease are heart failure and coronary artery disease. Hypertensive Heart Disease if ignored can be potentially life threatening.
What Are The Different Types Of Hypertensive Heart Disease?
Below mentioned in detail are some of the medical conditions which come under Hypertensive Heart Disease:
Coronary Artery Disease: The function of the coronary arteries is to transport blood to the heart muscle. Chronic hypertension causes these arteries to get narrow or stenosed causing reduced blood flow to the heart resulting in cardiac dysfunction. This is what is called as Coronary Artery Disease. If not treated appropriately, this condition can have serious implications.
Cardiomegaly: Chronic hypertension makes it tough for the heart to keep pumping blood in a normal fashion which makes the heart to work harder which results in enlargement of heart muscles resulting in dysfunction of the heart.
Some of the other conditions that can arise due to complications of Hypertensive Heart Disease are:
- Heart failure
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Ischemic heart disease
- Heart attack.
What Are The Risk Factors For Hypertensive Heart Disease?
The main risk factor for Hypertensive Heart Disease is high blood pressure. Hence it is important to make sure that your blood pressure stays under control. This can be done by monitoring the weight, doing regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, stay away from smoking or drinking alcohol, avoid eating too much oily or spicy food which may increase cholesterol and thus increase the risk for hypertension. Also, hypertension is a condition which tends to have a genetic link. Thus, if any direct relative of yours has hypertension then in all likelihood you may also end up having Hypertension. Females are more prone to get hypertension than males.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hypertensive Heart Disease?
The symptoms may be variable depending on the disease condition that an individual has due to Hypertensive Heart Disease. The most common symptom in Hypertensive Heart Disease is chest pain and shortness of breath. Some of the other symptoms of Hypertensive Heart Disease may be chest pressure, excessive fatigue, pain in the neck, back, and arms. There may also be loss of appetite and lower extremity swelling. Emergent treatment may be required if you have symptoms of tachycardia along with severe chest pain. In case you have a confirmed diagnosis of hypertension then it is vital to take extra care and monitor for symptoms of Hypertensive Heart Disease.
How Is Hypertensive Heart Disease Diagnosed?
To begin with, the treating physician will take a detailed history to include family history and social history. The physician will then conduct a physical examination to check the blood pressure and if found chronically hypertensive then the following tests will be conducted:
Electrocardiogram: This test shows the heartbeat in the form of electrical impulses. This test can show whether there is any abnormality in the rhythm of the heart and whether the heart is functioning normally.
Echocardiogram: This test makes use of ultrasound waves to look at the functioning of the heart. This test can accurately identify any abnormality of the functioning of the heart.
Chest X-ray: This can reveal whether there is any enlargement of the heart or not which can rule in or rule out cardiomegaly as a cause of the heart murmur. Apart from these tests a CT scan or an MRI will also be obtained which can accurately detect presence of a cardiac problem.
Coronary Angiography: This test checks the blood flow to and from the heart examines. Any abnormality in flow of blood in the heart can be confirmed through this test.
Treadmill Stress Test: This test is conducted to find out the exercise tolerance of the patient and how much distance the patient can cover on the treadmill before the patient starts having symptoms. This is quite helpful in confirming the diagnosis and formulating a treatment plan.
How Is Hypertensive Heart Disease Treated?
Treating Hypertensive Heart Disease depends on the acuity of the disease condition and also depends on the age and the medical history. Some of the treatment measures adopted for treatment of Hypertensive Heart Disease are:
Medications: Medications will be prescribed which regulate the flow of blood to and from the heart and also help in lowering the blood pressure. Some of these medications are:
- Water pills to decrease blood pressure
- Nitrates for chest pain
- Statins for hypercholesterolemia
- Beta-blockers for blood pressure
- Aspirin for prevention of blood clots due to coronary artery disease.
It is important to note here that you need to take the medications regularly and as directed by the physician
Devices: Apart from medications certain devices may be implanted to control the symptoms and increase blood flow to the heart. Some of the devices used are pacemaker, defibrillators or ICDs. In severe cases of Hypertensive Heart Disease a heart transplant may be required
Lifestyle Changes: Along with medications and devices the physician will also recommend lifestyle changes in the form of restricting salt intake, monitoring weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What Is The Overall Prognosis Of Hypertensive Heart Disease?
Total recovery from Hypertensive Heart Disease depends on the condition the individual is suffering from and the acuity of the disease condition. Lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping the condition. In severe cases, even medications or surgery may not be as effective in controlling the disease.
How To Prevent Hypertensive Heart Disease?
The best way to prevent complications from Hypertensive Heart Disease is by controlling your blood pressure and making lifestyle changes accordingly. The best way to do it is by eating a healthy diet which is low in salt and stay away from fatty and oily foods. You should engage in regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight, and stay away from alcohol and tobacco.