You may know that high blood pressure can cause the heart to become enlarged through years of overwork. But did you know that the disease called hypertension – the technical name for high blood pressure – can also do some serious damage to the arteries?
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
One type of hypertension is called Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) because it is a condition where the pressure on the pulmonary artery is too great. This becomes an area of concern when pressure is above 25 mmHg. Normal pressure on the pulmonary artery is 14 mmHg. In PAH the inside of the arteries becomes narrower because the muscles along the wall tighten up. The arteries can also become thick from the increased muscle mass in the arteries due to their "workout." When this happens the thicker walls create a narrower passage way for the blood flow and blood pressure increases.
The pulmonary arteries can also form scar tissue. This narrows the artery even more. Blood clots can cause further blockage and make blood flow difficult. All of the factors that narrow the arteries can also cause them to harden.
As time goes on without treating PAH, the right side of the heart is forced to work harder. Eventually it becomes so weak that it completely fails. The number one cause of death for people with PAH is heart failure. PAH is either inherited or comes about as the result of other conditions such as chronic lung disease, blood clots in the lungs or heart disease which can be caused by other types of conditions such as hypertension or high cholesterol.
Atherosclerosis is another condition of the arteries brought about by high blood pressure among other diseases and conditions. The risk of developing this hardening and narrowing of the arteries is increased with age. If you have a close relative with the condition you are also at greater risk.
Basically, atherosclerosis starts because of a buildup of plaque in the arteries by damage to the artery's lining. High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol all contribute to damaging the artery walls. When plaque builds up it can lead to blood clots that narrow the arteries even more. With increased blood pressure on the arteries and the clots, there is a greater chance of heart attack or stroke.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is when the arteries leading to the heart become hardened and narrower. There can be different types of CAD, the most common being angina and heart attack. Angina is a condition of chronic chest pain because the heart is not getting enough blood. A heart attack is the result also of the blood not making its way to a portion of the heart. Complete heart failure which can result in death happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood through the body.
To treat CAD, it is recommended that blood pressure is kept in check. High blood pressure adds to the strain on the arteries and the heart. A healthy diet and lifestyle will reduce the chances of developing CAD and other diseases or conditions of the arteries. Learn how to reduce your blood pressure to a healthy level by reading this special report: