Ways To Prevent Both Conditions
High blood pressure and heart disease cannot always be prevented. Some risk factors cannot be changed, such as your family history, genetics, race, and age.
However, there are some measures that you can take to prevent high blood pressure and its negative health effects.
Examples of steps you can take to improve your overall health include:
- Avoiding smoking, drug use, and heavy alcohol use
- Exercising regularly
- Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
If you have a family history of high blood pressure or heart disease, it’s important that you talk to your doctor about having regular health screenings. Together, you can make a plan to reduce your risk.
Making health-promoting changes to your lifestyle and learning about your risk factors can help you prevent and manage high blood pressure and avoid heart disease.
How Does Heart Disease Affect Women
Despite increases in awareness over the past decades, only about half of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.1
Learn more facts about women and heart disease:
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, killing 299,578 women in 2017or about 1 in every 5 female deaths.2
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for African American and white women in the United States. Among American Indian and Alaska Native women, heart disease and cancer cause roughly the same number of deaths each year. For Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander women, heart disease is second only to cancer as a cause of death.3
- About 1 in 16 women age 20 and older have coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease:4
- About 1 in 16 white women , black women , and Hispanic women
- About 1 in 30 Asian women
Maintain A Healthy Weight
If you’re overweight or obese, a combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet can help you lose weight. Aim to get your BMI below 25.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, your GP or practice nurse can help you come up with a weight loss plan and recommend services in your area.
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What Causes Coronary Heart Disease
There is no one cause of coronary heart disease, but risk factors can increase your chance of developing the condition.
Some risk factors are under your control, such as if you smoke or how often you exercise, and these can be changed to decrease your risk of developing coronary heart disease.
Other factors, such as your age or family history, can affect your risk of developing coronary heart disease but cannot be altered.
Risk factors that are under your control include:
- if you smoke
If you have any of these conditions, talk with your doctor to ensure they are being managed as well as they can be.
Risk factors that are not under your control include:
- being male
- having a family history of coronary heart disease
Relation To Cardiovascular Disease
Hyperlipidemia predisposes a person to . Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of lipids, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous plaques within the walls of arteries. This accumulation narrows the blood vessel and reduces blood flow and oxygen to muscles of the heart. Over time fatty deposits can build up, hardening and narrowing the arteries until organs and tissues don’t receive enough blood to properly function. If arteries that supply your heart with blood are affected, a person might have . Complete blockage of the artery causes infarction of the myocardial cells, also known as . Fatty buildup in the arteries can also lead to , if a blood clot blocks blood flow to the brain.
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What Behaviors Increase The Risk Of Heart Disease
Your lifestyle can increase your risk for heart disease.
- Eating a diet high in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol has been linked to heart disease and related conditions, such as atherosclerosis. Also, too much salt in the diet can raise blood pressure.
- Not getting enough physical activity can lead to heart disease. It can also increase the chances of having other medical conditions that are risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular physical activity can lower your risk for heart disease.
- Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure levels and the risk for heart disease. It also increases levels of triglycerides, a fatty substance in the blood which can increase the risk for heart disease.
- Women should have no more than 1 drink a day.
- Men should have no more than 2 drinks a day.
Symptoms Of Heart Attacks And Strokes
Often, there are no symptoms of the underlying disease of the blood vessels. A heart attack or stroke may be the first sign of underlying disease. Symptoms of a heart attack include:
- pain or discomfort in the centre of the chest and/or
- pain or discomfort in the arms, the left shoulder, elbows, jaw, or back.
In addition the person may experience difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath nausea or vomiting light-headedness or faintness a cold sweat and turning pale. Women are more likely than men to have shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
The most common symptom of a stroke is sudden weakness of the face, arm, or leg, most often on one side of the body. Other symptoms include sudden onset of:
- numbness of the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- confusion, difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- difficulty seeing with one or both eyes
- difficulty walking, dizziness and/or loss of balance or coordination
- severe headache with no known cause and/or
- fainting or unconsciousness.
People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.
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Myth : Heart Disease Is Really A Mans Problem
Since 1984, more women than men have died each year from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women over age 65, just as its the leading killer of men.
What you can do: Whether you are a man or a woman, ask your doctor to conduct a baseline heart examination that includes checking your cholesterol and blood pressure. Then follow your doctors recommendations.
S To Lower Cholesterol And Risks Of Related Diseases
A few simple changes can lower your cholesterol and cut your risk for conditions linked to high cholesterol.
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What Is Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease occurs when a coronary artery clogs and narrows because of a buildup of plaque. Plaque is made of fat, cholesterol and other materials. This plaque builds up inside artery walls and can cause the arteries to narrow and stiffen. This reduces the blood flow and vital oxygen to your heart muscle. The process of arthrosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in the wall of the arteries, happens over time. Without an enough blood supply, the heart is starved of the oxygen it needs to work properly. This can cause chest pain called angina. If the artery wall tears and plaque leaks into the bloodstream, it can cause a blood clot to form, blocking the blood vessel.If the blood flow to the heart muscle is stopped, or the heart does not get enough blood flow, a heart attack can occur.
What Can Happen If Your Arteries Become Clogged Up
If your arteries become clogged up with blood fats, your blood cant flow around your body easily. This can lead to a number of diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
These diseases are known together as cardiovascular disease cardio refers to the heart, and vascular refers to the blood vessels.
Coronary heart disease
This is where the arteries have become clogged up and stiff with atherosclerosis. The blood cant flow around the body and back to the heart easily, and blood clots can form. This can lead to chest pain, heart failure, heart attacks and strokes.
This is a dull, heavy or tight pain in the chest which can spread to the left arm, neck, jaw or back. It happens when the arteries leading to the heart have become narrowed and the heart doesnt get enough oxygen. The pain can be brought on by exercise or activity, as the heart needs more oxygen during physical activity.
A heart attack
This is a medical emergency. It happens when an artery leading to the heart becomes completely blocked, often by a blood clot, cutting off the blood supply. Part of the heart muscle quickly dies, but if its treated very early the blockage can be removed.If you think you or someone you are with is having a heart attack, call 999 straight away. The signs of a heart attack include:
- a crushing pain in the chest
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What Causes Heart Failure
Heart failure can be caused by many medical conditions that damage the heart muscle. Common conditions are:
- Coronary artery disease affects the arteries that carry blood and oxygen to the heart . The normal lining inside the arteries breaks down, the walls of the arteries become thick, and deposits of fat and plaque partially block the flow of blood. Over time, the arteries become very narrow or completely blocked, which causes a heart attack. The blockage keeps the heart from being able to pump enough blood to keep your organs and tissues healthy. When arteries are blocked, you may have chest pain and other symptoms of heart disease.
- Heart attack. A heart attack happens when a coronary artery suddenly becomes blocked and blood cannot flow to all areas of the heart muscle. The heart muscle becomes permanently damaged and muscle cells may die. Normal heart muscle cells may work harder. The heart may get bigger or stiff .
- Cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy is a term that describes damage to and enlargement of the heart muscle not caused by problems with the coronary arteries or blood flow. Cardiomyopathy can occur due to many causes, including viruses, alcohol or drug abuse, smoking, genetics and pregnancy .
- Tobacco and illicit drug use.
- Medications. Some drugs used to fight cancer can lead to heart failure.
Congenital Heart Defect Causes
This heart disease occurs while a baby is still developing in the womb. Some heart defects may be serious and diagnosed and treated early. Some may also go undiagnosed for many years.
Your hearts structure can also change as you age. This can create a heart defect that may lead to complications and problems.
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How Does Heart Failure Affect Quality Of Life And Lifestyle
With the right care and treatment plan, heart failure may limit your activities, but many adults still enjoy life. How well you feel depends on how well your heart muscle is working, your symptoms and how well you respond to and follow your treatment plan. This includes caring for yourself and living a healthy lifestyle .
Because heart failure is a chronic long-term illness, talk to your doctor and your family about your preferences for medical care. You can complete an advance directive or living will to let everyone involved in your care know your desires. A living will details the treatments you do or dont want to prolong your life. It is a good idea to prepare a living will while you are well in case you arent able to make these decisions at a later time.
Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.
Take Your Prescribed Medications As Instructed
Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following:
- Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors – these can lower blood pressure and reduce the strain on the heart.
- Anti-coagulants– these can reduce the risk of blood clots forming.
- Antiplatelet agents – these can reduce the risk of clots forming and limit damage if you have a heart attack.
- Beta blockers – these can lower blood pressure and regulate your heart rate and rhythm.
- Calcium channel blockers – these can lower blood pressure, relieve chest pain and slow heart rate.
- Nitrate medications – can increase blood flow to your heart. These are available in a spray or dissolvable tablet form.
- Statins – these can lower bad cholesterol and triglycerides.
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Is High Blood Pressure Considered Heart Disease
High blood pressure is a condition that makes your heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body. Over time, it can damage your arteries if it goes untreated. These effects, in turn, raise your risk of heart disease.
This overview will explain the connection between high blood pressure and heart disease. It will also go over the warning signs and symptoms of high blood pressure, how the condition is treated, and what can be done to prevent it.
Aim For Healthy Blood Pressure And Cholesterol Numbers
Having healthy blood pressure and cholesterol ranges are some of the first steps you can take for a healthy heart. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury . A healthy blood pressure is considered less than 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, which is often expressed as 120 over 80 or 120/80 mm Hg. Systolic is the measurement of pressure while the heart is contracting. Diastolic is the measurement when the heart is resting. Higher numbers indicate that the heart is working too hard to pump blood.
Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk factors and heart health history. If youre at a high risk of heart disease, have diabetes, or have already had a heart attack, your target levels will be below those of people with low or average risk.
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Problems Affecting The Blood Vessels
Problems with how the hearts blood vessels work can cause coronary heart disease. For example, the blood vessels may not respond to signals that the heart needs more oxygen-rich blood. Normally, the blood vessels widen to allow more blood flow when a person is physically active or under stress. But if you have coronary heart disease, the size of these blood vessels may not change, or the blood vessels may even narrow.
The cause of these problems is not fully clear. But it may involve:
- Damage or injury to the walls of the arteries or tiny blood vessels from chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
- Molecular changes that are part of the normal aging process. Molecular changes affect the way genes and proteins are controlled inside cells.
In nonobstructive coronary artery disease, damage to the inner walls of the coronary arteries can cause them to spasm . This is called vasospasm. The spasm causes the arteries to narrow temporarily and blocks blood flow to the heart.
These problems can also happen in the tiny blood vessels in the heart, causing coronary microvascular disease . Coronary microvascular disease can happen with or without obstructive or nonobstructive coronary artery disease.
Learn more about the important role that inflammation, which is the bodys reaction to an injury, plays in the development of coronary heart disease.
Myth : Diabetes Wont Cause Heart Disease If You Take Diabetes Medication
Diabetes medication helps lower blood sugar levels. Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is important for preventing complications that affect the smaller blood vessels , such as kidney disease, loss of vision, erectile dysfunction, and nerve damage.
But blood sugar control has less effect on the large blood vessels that become inflamed and diseased, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. These vessels benefit more from lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, says Dr. Alan Malabanan, a diabetes specialist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Womens Hospital.
What you can do: Take your diabetes medication to prevent microvascular complications. Also do everything you can to lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure, stop smoking and drop extra weight. These measures will reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
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Causes Of Chronic Heart Disease
In some cases the direct cause of the disease may not be established. Some causes may include an infection that infiltrates the bloodstream that induces damage to the heart or having a genetic imperfection. Additionally, having one or more risk factors for developing the disease will likely increase the odds that an individual will develop the disease over time. The risk factors commonly associated with chronic heart disease may include but may not necessarily be limited to:
- Leading an extremely stressful lifestyle.
- Having high levels of bad cholesterol and or low levels of good cholesterol
- Not performing the necessary amount of physical activity to maintain heart function especially exercise.
- Being obese or being greatly overweight
- Having a family history of the disease which may indicate a genetic predisposition to developing the disease.
- Being afflicted by hypertension or high blood pressure
- Being menopausal
- Smoking, especially when done in excess.
- Being diabetic
- Being of advanced age or being forty years or older