PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Why is it so important to control blood pressure? You hear it all the time. Control blood pressure. Make sure you take care of the silent killer. These are phrases and comments we hear all the time.
The most obvious reason is that controlling blood pressure helps reduce the incidence of heart attack or stroke. But there is a more subtle problem that is the direct result of high blood pressure. It is called ventricular hypertrophy. This is the way doctors describe an enlargement of one of the pumping chambers of the heart.
Hypertrophy means the growing of muscles. If you look at your biceps you know that by repeatedly lifting weights you can make them bigger — they hypertrophy. This is usually a good thing. But when the heart has to beat against increased pressure, the muscles of the heart – especially those that push against the pressure – begin to grow or hypertrophy.
The problem is that a hypertrophied heart muscle can weaken over time, especially when it’s pushing against increased pressure. The best way to avoid this from happening is to keep the blood pressure under control.
The reason why many people don’t take their medicine is because they don’t feel symptoms of high blood pressure and they don’t know the damage is occurring.
Reported By Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio Medical Editor