The effects of high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attack and heart disease. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure decreases the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently in the body.
And, The New York Times reported
that researchers have an idea as to how much increased risk comes with having high blood pressure.
"Some studies suggest that in people over 45 years old, every 10 millimeter [mercury] increase in pulse pressure increases the risk for stroke rises by 11 percent, cardiovascular disease by 10 percent, and overall mortality by 16 percent," said the Times.
A normal blood pressure reading is 120 millimeters over 80 millimeters. So, for every 10 millimeter increase in the distance between the systolic (top) and distolic (bottom) numbers in blood pressure readings, the chance of having a heart attack could be at least 10 percent greater, according to these findings.
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The New York Times also reported that the outcomes are worse for younger adults.
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure limits the risk factors of heart attack or stroke by avoiding damage to blood vessels and providing the body with adequate supplies of blood and oxygen, according to the American Heart Association
High blood pressure stretches the wall of arteries, leading to potential damage. Blood vessels may weaken, increasing the risk of rupture that leads to stroke or aneurysms.
Vascular scarring from high blood pressure can trap cholesterol in the blood. High blood cholesterol may result in heart disease or heart attack. High blood pressure also increases plaque buildup in the arteries, partially or completely blocking blood flow that may cause a heart attack.
The toll on the body’s circulatory system from high blood pressure may lead to blood clots that block vessels and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
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Damage to or narrowing of the arteries because of high blood pressure often causes arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, the Mayo Clinic explains
. Dietary fats build up in the bloodstream and block blood flow. It can cause chest pain, known as angina, as well as heart attack, heart failure, and other damage throughout the body.
Along with heart disease, also known as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure forces the heart to work harder and may result in an enlarged left heart. The left ventricle thickens or stiffens, limiting the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. The strain might eventually lead to heart failure when the heart becomes too weak to work properly.
High blood pressure causes the body to build up fluids because the blood supply to organs in the body diminishes. It increases the heart rate, especially during physical activity, WebMD reports
Regular medical checkups can detect high blood pressure. To reduce the risk of heart attack or treat heart disease, doctors will prescribe blood pressure medication, such as diuretics, beta-blockers, or calcium channel blockers.
A healthy diet that includes limited salt intake and calories, along with a reduction of saturated fats and cholesterol, is usually recommended.
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