Hardening of arteries is central to both high blood pressure and heart attack. Obesity /overweight, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity and stress are the common factors that contribute to atherosclerosis and increase the risk of both - hypertension and heart attacks.
Being overweight, diabetic, smoking and chronic stress are root causes for high blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Extra blood cholesterol and triglyceride deposit in the arteries (tubes that supply blood to whole body including heart muscles). These deposition known as plaques and cause narrowing of arteries and makes them hard.
Atherosclerosis or hardening of arteries is like increased resistance against which heart has to pump the blood to meet the body requirements. Heart has to work harder to fulfill its obligation. As a coping process heart muscles enlarge in size – technically known as Left Ventricular Hypertrophy or LVH.
More blood is needed to nourish enlarged heart muscles. But, as we saw above cholesterol and triglyceride deposition in arteries supplying to the heart muscles (coronary arteries) makes them narrow. So there are two things happening. One - Heart muscle size has increased. Two – Coronary arteries have become narrowed and hard. As a result for a larger heart muscle there is decreased blood supply. This is the background of Hypertensive Ischemic Heart Disease.
If you paid attention to the common factors of both hypertension and heart attack – you have noticed that being overweight, stress and smoking are the manifestations of behavioral choices. The wrong dietary choices and consumption of more calories, smoking and drinking and living physically inactive – a sedentary - and stressful lifestyle all of these make the perfect recipe for all – coronary heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. All these feed each other and increase risk from bad to worse.
The way out of this vicious circle is to take charge of your life and make necessary changes in lifestyle before it is too late.
Role of genes can not be denied. But genes play a villain in quite small number of people. For most it is lifestyle that is behind hypertension and heart disease. Parents transfer to their children not only genes but also lifestyle. It is impossible to make the scientific evaluation of pure genetic involvement divorced from inherited lifestyle.
Even if you have bad genes – you can turn the table around by living a healthy lifestyle.
Now let us discuss how to manage high blood pressure(hypertension).