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Hypertensive heart disease


Definition:

Hypertensive heart disease refers to heart problems that occur because of high blood pressure. These problems include:

Causes:

High blood pressure means the pressure inside the blood vessels (called arteries) is too high. As the heart pumps against this pressure, it must work harder. Over time, this causes the heart muscle to thicken.

Without treatment, symptoms of heart failure may develop. Sometimes, the muscle can be so thick that it does not get enough oxygen. This can cause angina (chest pain).

High blood pressure also leads to thickening of the blood vessel walls. When combined with cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels, the risk of heart attack and stroke increases.

Hypertensive heart disease is the leading cause of illness and death from high blood pressure.

When to Contact a Medical Professional:

Call your health care provider if you have high blood pressure and develop any symptoms.

References:

2007 Screening for High Blood Pressure in Adults, Topic Page. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Available at http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspshype.htm Accessed June 19, 2014.

Massie BM. Heart failure: pathophysiology and diagnosis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 58.

Victor RG. Arterial hypertension. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 67.


Review Date: 5/13/2014
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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