Hypertension, or high blood pressure, affects around 14.4 million people in the UK according to figures from the British Heart Foundation. Often referred to as the ‘silent killer’, it can significantly damage the heart and other organs without any obvious symptoms.

Here, we’ll look at how hypertension can affect the heart over time, and how the condition can be effectively managed.

What is hypertension?

Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is diagnosed when the pressure of the blood against the arterial walls is persistently elevated. It can develop gradually over many years and often exists without any obvious symptoms.

Over time, if left uncontrolled, hypertension can lead to several serious health issues, including heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and vision problems. The root causes of hypertension can vary, but often include genetic factors, dietary habits, low levels of physical activity, poor stress management, obesity, as well as other health conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease.

Hypertension is defined as repeated elevated office systolic blood pressure (SBP) values over 140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP (DBP) over 90 mmHg or average home BP over 135/85 mmHg.

How does hypertension affect the heart and you?

Hypertension places a significant toll on the heart. Over time, the heart needs to work harder than normal to circulate blood through the blood vessels. This increased workload can cause it to enlarge and become less efficient at pumping blood, a condition known as left ventricular hypertrophy.

High blood pressure can also lead to atherosclerosis, a process where the blood vessels become clogged and narrowed due to the build-up of plaque. These changes increase the risk of heart attack, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death.

Hypertension can be one of a group of health conditions called metabolic syndrome that increases the risk of heart disease. Other risks are insulin resistance, increased body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Research has shown that earlier identification and patient-centred treatments for managing the multiple conditions of metabolic syndrome will lead to better outcomes. This is why Dr Konrad Grosser at Kent Cardio routinely checks an advanced cardio-metabolic blood panel including tests that GPs are not able to carry out such as for example insulin and Homocysteine levels to name just a few.

Managing hypertension to protect you

Effectively managing hypertension is crucial for maintaining heart health, general health and to achieve your longevity goal by preventing long-term complications and by reducing inflammation – yes inflammation drives accelerated ageing.

At Kent Cardio a view is taken that reversing high blood pressure and getting your health back into balance is the top priority. The main focus is on empowering you and providing you with the relevant information so you know what to do and how to do it. In the vast majority of patients, lifestyle changes are key to re-normalising the blood pressure so that medications can be stopped.

Lifestyle changes are never affecting only one domain of health only, but need to be in the context of a holistic synergy optimising all aspects of your health. Sleep, nutrition, exercise and stress management are the main domains you need to focus on.

When you are being started on the functional hypertension management pathway you will have a consultation for you to get to know Dr Konrad Grosser and vice versa. Your past history as well as your current concerns will be discussed. You will undergo a focussed physical examination and relevant routine and advanced tests will be discussed and arranged. You will be asked to monitor your blood pressure, nutrition plan, stress management and exercise prescription and regular checks with patient questionnaires will make sure you stay on track. The pathway is designed for a 6 month period and there is a great chance that within this period you will be able to stop some, and in many cases all, of your blood pressure medications, as your health will have improved as you reversed the imbalance causing high blood pressure in the first instance. Please note that for patients with significant renal impairment or anatomical causes of high blood pressure (e.g. blockage of the arteries supplying the kidneys) reversing hypertension is usually not achievable, but often significant improvements can be had.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to get healthy and how to reverse your hypertension simply book a consultation with Konrad. He will provide a comprehensive evaluation and tailored treatment plan suited to your needs. Call 0333 444 1844 and ask his team to arrange a consultation.