How long does high blood pressure take to damage heart?

How does high blood pressure affect my heart? 

There are two primary ways high blood pressure can damage the heart. One is by increasing deposits of cholesterol in the coronary arteries, which happens because the extra pressure damages the inner lining of the arteries. Scientists have labeled the origin of this damage “shear stress,” akin to the pitting and deposits of calcium seen in water pipes in areas of greater turbulence, such as when a smaller pipe is joined to a larger pipe. High blood pressure can also affect the heart muscle itself. Hypertension occurs because the thousands of small arteries in the body are slightly narrowed, making it necessary for the heart muscle to push blood through greater resistance. The greater the resistance, the higher the pressure needed, and the higher the blood pressure that is measured at the arm. After some years of this extra workload, the heart muscle gets thicker; this is called left ventricular hypertrophy. The process is very similar to the muscle enlargement that occurs in a weight lifter thus one could say that the heart is lifting an extra weight every time it has to beat against the extra resistance caused by narrowing of the body’s many small arteries. If the heart has to make this extra pumping effort for many years, heart failure can result due to pure overwork, rather than to heart attacks caused by plaque laden arteries.


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