Ever wonder just how high blood pressure wreaks havoc on the kidneys and heart?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a ruthless condition that causes disaster throughout the body, especially to the heart, but the kidneys also suffer as well.
Just because you can’t “feel” high blood pressure (also known as hypertension), doesn’t mean that it’s not that serious.
And just because it doesn’t require too many brains to take your blood pressure at your kitchen table with a handheld gadget that you can purchase at Walmart, doesn’t mean that hypertension is something to sneeze at. High blood pressure kills.
“Hypertension contributes to coronary artery disease by stressing the arterial lining,” says Dr. Michael Fiocco, MD, Chief of Open Heart Surgery at Union Memorial Hospital, one of the nation’s top 50 heart hospitals.
“This leads to atherosclerosis.”
Atherosclerosis is buildup of dangerous plaque in the arteries. When the coronary arteries become at least 70 percent blocked with this plaque, this is considered severe coronary heart disease.
A small percentage of severe heart disease cases are actually missed by stress tests such as a treadmill stress test.
Dr. Fiocco continues, “Also, the stress on the left ventricle (main pumping chamber) causes the ventricle to thicken or hypertrophy.” Hypertrophy means increase in size.
“This hypertrophy leads to more demand for oxygen by the muscle and also decreases the heart’s ability to relax.
“Therefore, hypertension leads to not only coronary artery disease, but dysfunction of the left ventricle, and ultimately heart failure.”
Quite frankly, there is no excuse for high blood pressure, since this condition can easily be detected, right in your own home with a portable tool that’s easy to use, and the condition can also be treated.
Dr. Fiocco continues, “Hypertension will also injure the very small arteries known as arterioles.
“These are very difficult to see on an angiogram since they are so small, but atherosclerosis in these vessels, referred to as small vessel disease, can lead to significant dysfunction and angina.
“This is similar to how hypertension injures the kidneys, by injuring small vessels, and there is no bypass or stenting that can be done to fix this once it occurs.
“It can be avoided as long as hypertension is avoided. The damage is not reversible, but certainly can be halted by controlling the blood pressure.”
How to Lower Your Blood Pressure
To help permanently lower your blood pressure, restrict processed foods. This will automatically shave off a lot of sodium in the diet.
Eat 8-10 servings a day of any combination of whole fruits and raw vegetables. Juice some of the produce to make consumption easier.
Consider that a 7-8 ounce glass of juiced fruit/vegetables counts as one serving. Add unsalted nuts and seeds to your diet, and exercise!
Dr. Fiocco specializes in treating artery disease, valvular disease and aortic aneurysm. His heart care expertise has earned him recognition by Baltimore Magazine as a Top Doctor in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2017.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.