Navigate Up

Cancer Center - A-Z Index

#
Q
Y

Print This Page

Hypertensive heart disease

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

 

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

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 attacks and stroke increases.

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

 
Click to download

Calling your health care provider

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

Prevention

Because there are no symptoms with high blood pressure, people can have the condition without knowing it. Diagnosing high blood pressure early can help prevent heart disease, stroke, eye problems, and chronic kidney disease.

All adults should have their blood pressure checked:

  • Every 2 years, if their blood pressure was less than 120/80 mmHg at their most recent reading
  • Once a year if their blood pressure was 120 - 139/80 - 89 mmHg

If your blood pressure is high, you need to lower it and keep it under control .

  • Do not stop or change high blood pressure medications, except on the advice of your health care provider.
  • Carefully control diabetes and high cholesterol.

References

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

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

Updated: 6/4/2012

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com