ZocdocAnswersIs high blood pressure a sign that your heart is bad?

Question

Is high blood pressure a sign that your heart is bad?

I have never had a problem with my heart or my blood pressure. I have always had a low blood pressure, even after taking a stress test. The last time I was at the doctor's office, my blood pressure was extremely high. I was told that I was at risk for a heart attack or stroke unless I got my blood pressure under control. I do not want to have a heart attack.

Answer

High blood pressure is not necessarily a sign that your heat is bad but it can be a cause of heart disease, which is why it should be carefully monitored by your doctor. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder than it's used to working. Like most muscles in the body, when it works harder it gets bigger. However, when the heart works harder because of high blood pressure, it causes an abnormal enlargement that can then lead to heart failure. High blood pressure is also associated with diseases of the blood vessels. Coronary artery disease is specifically a disease of the arteries that bring blood to the muscle of the heart. When these are diseased, they can lead to heart attacks. Controlling blood pressure does not guarantee that you will not have a heart attack, but did does reduce the likelihood that it will happen. The same goes for stroke. Blood pressure control is something that your doctor should be working on diligently. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. The two of you can first discuss ways to reduce your blood pressure without medicines such as weight loss, exercise, and reducing salt in your diet. If that doesn't work the you can discuss what medications might be helpful to keep your blood pressure within normal limits.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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