Damage To Your Heart
Your heart is responsible for pumping blood to your entire body. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage your heart in a number of ways, such as:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD). This is a cluster of diseases involving the arteries that supply blood to your heart. Changes to the cells lining these arteries reduce the ability of the arteries to dilate, which can cause chest pain (angina). CAD also occurs when blood flow through your arteries becomes obstructed, usually because of atherosclerosis. When blood can't flow freely to your heart, you can experience chest pain, a heart attack or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmias). People with high blood pressure who have a heart attack are more likely to die of that heart attack than are people who don't have high blood pressure.
- Enlarged left heart. . High blood pressure forces your heart to overexert itself. This causes the left ventricle to enlarge (left ventricular hypertrophy) — just as your biceps get bigger when you lift weights. This enlargement limits the ventricle's ability to expand sufficiently and completely fill with blood. In turn, the ventricle can't pump out as much blood to your body. This condition increases your risk of heart attack, heart failure and sudden cardiac death.
- Heart failure. Over time, the added exertion demanded by hypertension can cause your heart muscle to weaken and work less efficiently. Eventually, your overwhelmed heart simply begins to wear out and fail. Damage from heart attacks adds to this weakness.