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High Blood Pressure Role in Vascular Diseases
- High blood pressure may not cause any outward symptoms or ill effects, but it can cause some serious consequences in the medium and long term.
- Although high blood pressure is known as a “silent killer”, awareness of the condition is improving and hypertension has become one of the most common reasons that people visit their doctors.
- High blood pressure is a common symptom and/or cause in the following vascular conditions, which can result in chronic vascular disease: Buerger’s Disease and Peripheral Artery Disease
Put simply, the heart is a powerful muscle that pumps blood to all areas and extremities of your body, all day, every day. The heart pushes blood out into the arteries which supply other blood vessels and capillaries which in turn supply all the organs and tissues in our bodies before the blood is returned to the heart through veins. When the heart beats, blood flows under pressure through the arteries and this creates pressure on the artery walls, and it is that force that is known as blood pressure. High blood pressure is also known as hypertension.
High blood pressure may not cause any outward symptoms or ill effects, but it can cause some serious consequences in the medium and long term. It is very common for people to have high blood pressure and for them to know nothing about it. Well known consequences of high blood pressure include vascular disease, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and congestive heart failure. Although high blood pressure is known as a “silent killer”, awareness of the condition is improving and hypertension has become one of the most common reasons that people visit their doctors.
When the heart beats, it pushes your circulatory system (or the vascular system). Blood vessels are effective tubes that carry the blood way from the heart (arteries) and then return it (veins). Vascular Disease is a broad term that covers any condition or disease that affects your vascular or circulatory system, for example, peripheral artery disease. This ranges from conditions affecting your veins, arteries, and lymph vessels to other disorders affecting circulation.
High blood pressure can be a cause and a symptom of vascular disease. Many deaths that result from stroke, kidney failure and heart attack can be attributed (among other factors) to high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common symptom and/or cause in the following vascular conditions, which can result in chronic vascular disease:
1. PAD (Peripheral Artery Disease, also known as peripheral vascular disease): As with the coronary arteries, peripheral arteries, i.e. arteries outside the heart, or not involved in blood supply to the heart, may develop a buildup of plaque on the arterial walls. This condition is known as atherosclerosis, and can cause high blood pressure as the area that blood can move through narrows. This narrowing can then lead to ischemia which is the inadequate flow of blood flow to body tissues. An example would be a blockage in the renal arteries, causing stenosis (renal artery disease). Symptoms of peripheral occlusive vascular disease include high blood pressure, poor kidney function and congestive heart failure.
2. Buerger’s Disease: This condition most commonly affects smaller and medium sized veins, arteries and nerves. It is also common in patients with a history of high blood pressure. The condition is strongly associated with smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke. Arteries can become narrowed or blocked in the arms and legs and this causes a shortage of blood supply, known as ischemia to the hands, feet, fingers and toes. This can cause pain in the hands and arms, and more commonly in the feet and legs. Where blockages are severe, gangrene may result and tissues may actually die, requiring amputation.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
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