Your Heart & Arteries are Damaged by High Blood Pressure
HOW DOES HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE damage the heart and organs in your body? They can only function efficiency if they are continually supplied with fresh oxygenated blood.
This is achieved by the left ventricle in your heart pumping blood under pressure around the miles of arteries and capillaries that make up your circulatory system, on its journey, blood delivers oxygen, nutrients and substances the body relies upon, at the same time it collects carbon dioxide, and waste matter, this deoxygenated blood and waste matter continues its journey through to the Vena Cava the main vein, back to the Right Atrium in your heart which passes through a heart valve to the right ventricle in your heart, which then pumps the deoxygenated blood and waste matter to your lungs which is expelled as carbon dioxide as you breath out, followed by breathing in which starts the same journey again. This happens each time your heart beats, on average the journey above takes less than one second to complete.
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MANAGING BLOOD PRESSURE is critical to keep your heart and arteries functioning efficiently, as higher than accepted blood pressure can have an impact on your Life2Moro. In this section, I’ve detailed information about the arteries around your heart, and how arteries, when things go wrong, can cause higher than accepted blood pressure, increasing the risk of a stroke and heart attack.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill to manage blood pressure, there are however, a range of medications that a Doctor or Health Professional can prescribe to manage high blood pressure. Unfortunately, blood pressure can still be elevated as some patients fail to take the medication every day, I would respectfully suggest people ensure they take medication as prescribed, your Life2Moro is dependent on your actions today! Within this section I’ve included information how arteries can have a check-up and if necessary, refurbished!
THE BLOOD FLOW AND OBSTRUCTIONS
THE BLOOD FLOWS freely through your arteries, capillaries and veins as there are no obstructions to slow the flow of blood, blood pressure is within accepted range between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg.
However, things go wrong when arteries become restricted, due to plaque attaching to the artery wall, as shown in the illustration below.
Cholesterol Plaque which is referred to as Atherosclerosis, doesn’t happen overnight, it starts slowly when some small particles of plaque attach to the walls of arteries, over time more plaque is deposited on top of existing plaque, during this build-up its possible you will have no sensations or pain; however, this is where the danger of High Blood Pressure may start.
As mentioned above, without any plaque build-up blood flows freely, blood pressure is normal. However, when plaque is deposited within your arteries, it starts to slightly restrict the flow of oxygenated blood to the organs that keep you alive, to compensate, the brain tells your heart to pump harder causing your blood pressure to rise. As more plaque is deposited the heart must pump harder, blood pressure continues to rise. At this moment in time it’s possible you still won’t have any sensations or pain. The pain starts when organs fail to get the oxygen they require, this is referred to as Angina, the side effects of Angina is a feeling of pressure on your chest, pain in your arms, jaw or possibly your back, some of the symptoms can even feel like indigestion.
Cholesterol plaque is a process that develops Atherosclerosis, this condition is also referred to as ‘Hardening of the Arteries’ It is the bad cholesterol, also called ‘LDL’ that is responsible for the cholesterol plaque that sticks to arteries. It may take years before the build-up of plaque causes any discomfort or any symptoms of high blood pressure, which in turn may cause a heart attack.
Hence this condition is referred to as the “Silent Killer”
THE SYMPTOMS of possible heart problems can be caused by other medical conditions; however, any pain or recurring discomfort should be investigated, it’s better to be safe, rather than sorry. Reflecting on possible symptoms leading to a heart condition, I’ve listed some below.
- Pain in centre of chest
- Discomfort in centre of chest
- Discomfort or Pain in jaw, neck, back, possibly stomach
- Discomfort or Pain in one or both arms
- Feeling nauseas/sick
- Feeling out of breath
- Feeling tired
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
It’s possible to have a heart attack and be unaware there’s been a problem with the heart. This is referred to as a “Silent Heart Attack”, in medical terms this condition is referred to as a “Silent Ischemia”, one cause is the lack of oxygen to the heart muscle.
In most cases a Silent Heart Attack may only be diagnosed when a patient visits their Doctor complaining of fatigue, feeling tired after a training session, may put down chest discomfort to lifting heavy weights in the gym or indigestion.
Up to the time patients see their Doctor, it’s possible there were no specific symptoms. It’s been reported that a Silent Heart Attack is more common place in women, unfortunately a visit to the Doctor can result in a misdiagnosis, Doctors saying it’s stress related. I’ve also heard people say, I don’t like troubling the Doctor, I’ll see how it goes. My thoughts are, people should be more aware of their own body, if they have concerns, they should ask for help!
HOWEVER, there is an answer to some people who are diagnosed with partially blocked arteries the procedure is called “Coronary Angioplasty”, this involves inserting a “Stent” that opens the artery allowing blood to flow freely. This procedure is also carried out on patients who have survived a heart attack.
This illustration shows a Stent that’s been inserted, the wire mesh tube has been put in place by inserting the Stent and using a balloon, this expands the Stent, pushing back the build-up of plaque, leaving it in place allowing blood to flow freely.
The video below shows how a Stent is inserted and expanded to allow oxygenated blood to flow freely.
THE ANGIOPLASTY may be carried out in an Operating Theatre, or more likely in a “Catheterization Laboratory” Patients are connected to an ECG Monitor, Oxygen Monitor and a blood pressure monitor. X-ray equipment is used to allow the Cardiologist to monitor the procedure on a screen.
Depending on individual patient conditions, a general anesthetic may be required, however, in most cases the procedure is carried out under a local anesthetic. The Cardiologist will make a small insertion, this could be in the groin, neck, arm and insert small sheath into the artery, a catheter is then passed through the sheath and guided to the left or right coronary arteries by the x-ray machine, at the same time a dye will pass through the catheter, which highlights any plaque, narrowing of the artery or blockages. A fine flexible wire which also carries a thin balloon and a Stent, is fed into the catheter to the area in the artery that is narrowed, as shown in the video above, the balloon inflates, allowing the Stent to spring open and ensure blood flows freely. The balloon, thin wire and catheter are all removed leaving the Stent in place. The area where the incision was made is sealed and allowed to heal. Sometimes this procedure requires an overnight stay, some patients may be discharged the same day, albeit, they are not allowed to drive for a period, in normal circumstances this is around a week.
My description of Angioplasty is just a brief overview on an extremely complex subject. A Cardiologist will be able to explain why procedures can vary between patients. I’ve also found there are different types of Stents, these are names, I won’t attempt to comment, a search engine will explain more, far better than me.
- Absorbable Stent
- Drug Eluting Stent
- Bare Metal Stent
- Bio Engineered Stent
- Dual Therapy Stent
- M-Guard Stent
BEFORE you look at other sections, lets recap on the measurement of blood pressure. There are two numbers, one being the “Systolic Pressure” which measured when the heart is pumping. The other measurement is the “Diastolic Pressure” which measures pressure when the heart is relaxed, Ideal blood pressure is in the range of 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg. The numbers below are said to be accepted by the Medical Profession.
- Pre-Hypertension is when the Systolic Pressure is in the range of 120 mmHg and 139 mmHg. The Diastolic in a range of 80 mmHg and 89 mmHg
- Mild Hypertension is when the Systolic Pressure is in the range of 140 mmHg and 159 mmHg. The Diastolic in a range of 90 mmHg and 99 mmHg
- Moderate Hypertension to Severe Hypertension, is when the Systolic Pressure is 160mmHg or higher. The Diastolic is 100mmHg or higher