BY CHIOMA OBINNA & GABRIEL OLAWALE
HOw often do you check your blood pressure? Do you know that High Blood Pressure, HBP, could lead to what experts call Hypertensive heart disease? Beware! Hypertensive heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death associated with high blood pressure.
According to experts, it refers to a group of disorders that includes heart failure, ischemic heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, and left ventricular hypertrophy.
Reports have shown that the cause of hypertensive heart disease is chronically elevated blood pressure, BP; however, the causes of elevated BP are diverse.
Essential hypertension accounts for 90 percent of cases of hypertension in adults. Secondary causes of hypertension account for the remaining 10 percent of cases of chronically elevated BP.
According to the Framingham Study, hypertension accounts for about one quarter of heart failure cases. In the elderly population, as many as 68 percent of heart failure cases are attributed to hypertension.
Again, community-based studies have demonstrated that hypertension may contribute to the development of heart failure in as many as 50-60 percent of patients. In patients with hypertension, the risk of heart failure is increased by 2-fold in men and by 3-fold in women.
However, heart disease can be improved or even prevented by making certain lifestyle changes. Identifying the symptoms of Hypertensive heart disease is also key in managing the disorder.
Symptoms of the disease vary depending on the severity of the condition and progression of the disease. You may experience no symptoms or your symptoms may be obvious. When blood flow through the heart is poor, a common symptom that results is chest pain.
Other symptoms include tightness or pressure in the chest, shortness of breath, and fatigue. It is also common to feel pain in the neck, back, arms, or shoulders. You may also have a cough or lose your appetite. Foot or ankle swelling can be a sign of heart failure.
Experts say you need emergency care if your heart is suddenly beating rapidly or irregularly. Regular physical examinations will indicate whether you suffer from high blood pressure. If you do have high blood pressure, you should take extra care to look out for symptoms of heart disease.
Tips to improve your heart health:
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, especially atherosclerosis.
Control your blood pressure: Optimal blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, as measured in millimeters of mercury.
Check your cholesterol: Ask your doctor for a baseline cholesterol test.
Keep diabetes under control: Tight blood sugar control can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Get moving: Exercise helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight and control diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure — all risk factors for heart disease. Eat healthy foods: A heart-healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium — can help you control your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.
Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease. Manage stress: Reduce stress as much as possible.
Practice good hygiene habits: Staying away from other people when they are sick and regularly washing your hands can not only prevent heart infections but also can help prevent viral or bacterial infections that can put stress on your heart if you already have heart disease.
In addition to healthy lifestyle changes, remember the importance of regular medical checkups. Early detection and treatment can set the stage for a lifetime of better heart health.