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What are the Effects of Blood Pressure on the Heart?

Article Details
  • Written By: Keith Koons
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 10 December 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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For the body to function, the heart must continuously pump blood to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the other parts of the body through its network of blood vessels. Its ability to perform this vital task depends on the blood pressure, the force that the blood exerts on the arteries and the veins as it circulates throughout the body. Excessive or high blood pressure can dangerously overwork the heart, hardening its muscles or damaging the arterial lining. Conversely, weak or low blood pressure can be so weak that the heart is unable to pump out enough blood to supply the other parts of the body. If these effects of blood pressure on the heart remain uncontrolled, they could compromise the pumping ability of the heart, which could ultimately be fatal.

Persistent high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, may cause the gradual thickening of the heart muscles. When this happens, the heart will eventually be unable to pump blood to the other parts of the body and eventually trigger heart failure. Similarly, the excessive blood pressure on the heart may damage the internal lining of the coronary arteries. The natural process of healing this damage causes plaque, composed of substances in the blood, to build up inside the arteries. This build-up can block the flow of blood to the heart and result in a heart attack, and it could ultimately lead to coronary heart disease.

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Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure is naturally common even among healthy people depending on their age and lifestyle. While this is considered natural, extremely weak blood pressure on the heart may deprive the body of sufficient oxygen to perform its normal functions. This situation may result is shock, a medical condition where the heart and other vital organs rapidly fail to function. Other symptoms resulting from low blood pressure are dizziness, fainting, nausea, or even a heart attack.

In 2004, the World Health Organization listed coronary heart disease as the No. 1 cause of death in the world, immediately followed by stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, which include heart attack and heart failure. Clearly, the effects of blood pressure on the heart cannot be ignored. Coronary heart disease, heart attack and heart failure are only a few of the life-threatening complications of blood pressure on the heart. The risk in developing these heart conditions gradually rises as the blood pressure increases, and controlling blood pressure is perhaps the easiest way to avoid these complications.

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