High Blood Pressure and Heart Attack Relationship


Heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, is one of the most common cardiovascular diseases with high mortality rates in the US. According to the Centers for Control Disease and Prevention, approximately 11% of adults have been diagnosed with heart attack, estimating to 28.2 million Americans (“Heart disease,” 2017). Common risk factors for the health condition include high blood cholesterol levels, tobacco use, and diabetes. However, the leading cause for the myocardial infarction is high blood pressure, a slow process of the excess strain, which causes coronary arteries to deteriorate with time, leading to the damage of the heart muscle (Luscher, 2015). This paper will examine causal relationships between high blood pressure and heart attack, along with other contributing factors, proposing an effective solution to the issue.

Common Factors Contributing to Heart Attack

Healthcare professionals identify a multitude of risk factors leading to a heart attack. However, the limited scope of this essay allows for the examination of smoking and high blood cholesterol levels as the main ones. As suggested by Keto et al. (2017), smoking impairs the lining of the arteries, which results in their suffusion with atheroma, an abnormal fatty material which contracts the artery. Also, due to the repeated exposure to the chemicals in cigarettes, individuals’ blood vessels become swollen and inflamed, which reduces the supply of blood and oxygen to the body (Keto el al., 2017). As supported by Lüscher (2015), high blood cholesterol levels have the same mechanism of action as tobacco use: arteries become narrowed, restricting the blood flow and slowing down the heart muscle. Despite the strong correlation between the aforementioned factors and heart attack, it is essential to consider that these processes first affect the endocrine and respiratory systems, raising a question about the direct causal relationship to cardiovascular disease.

High Blood Pressure as the Leading Cause

Unlike smoking and high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure has a direct effect on the cardiovascular system. As explained by Wu et al. (2015), patients diagnosed with hypertension underestimate the consequences of the disease on their heart muscle. Hardened with plaque, arteries become blocked with fat and blood clots. Continuous starvation of the heart muscle with oxygen and nutrients leads to its damage (Wu et al., 2015). The risk of the illness increases, as many patients do not feel physical symptoms of high blood pressure, failing to lower it for a long time. In such situations, hypertension is especially harmful, as it damages one’s blood vessels, allowing bad cholesterol to accumulate along the artery walls (Wu et al., 2015). Yet, it is possible to prevent or minimize the effects of high blood pressure both naturally and medically. Common health recommendations include low sodium, caffeine, and alcohol intake, regular exercise, and usage of vasodilators in case of emergency (Ettehad et al., 2016). On the contrary to smoking and high blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure is a chronic health condition which frequently remains unnoticed, causing irreversible harm to the human body.

Conclusion

Myocardial infarction is a complex health condition with a multitude of causal factors, such as tobacco use, diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels, and others. However, the leading contributing condition to a heart attack is high blood pressure, a slow process that frequently remains unnoticed by patients for the lack of physical symptoms at the early stages of the disease. Failure to address hypertension timely leads to the starvation of the healthy muscle with blood, oxygen, and minerals, leading to the deterioration of its function and eventual death.

References

Ettehad, D., Emdin, C. A., Kiran, A., Anderson, S. G., Callender, T., Emberson, J., … Rahimi, K. (2016). Blood pressure lowering for prevention of cardiovascular disease and death: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet, 387(10022), 957-967. Web.

Heart disease. (2017). Web.

Keto, J., Ventola, H., Jokelainen, J., Linden, K., Keinanen-Kiukaanniemi, S., Timonen, M., … Auvinen, J. (2016). Cardiovascular disease risk factors in relation to smoking behaviour and history: A population-based cohort study. Open Heart, 3(2), 1-9. Web.

Lüscher, T. F. (2015). Risk factors for and management of heart failure. European Heart Journal, 36(34), 2267–2269. Web.

Wu, C-Y., Hu, H-Y., Chou, Y-J., Huang, N., Chou, Y-C., & Li, C-P. (2015). High blood pressure and all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortalities in community-dwelling older adults. Medicine, 94(47), 1-10. Web.