How High Blood Pressure Affects The Heart

, How High Blood Pressure Affects The Heart, Dr. Nicolle

High blood pressure can have multiple effects on the body over time.  It will cause issues such as congestion around organs, hyperviscosity and increased likelihood of blood clots, and damage to blood vessels in key areas of the body.  When blood flow is impeded by narrowing of the arteries, there will be decreased flow to vital organs and organ damage.

High blood pressure has many long-term effects on the body itself, and they are all related to circulation issues. When blood flows under increased pressure, it can cause damage to the blood vessels which leads to narrowing.  There is also the potential of developing atherosclerosis which can cause further damage to the vessels.

One of the organs that can be damaged by high blood pressure is the heart. The heart is your main organ that pumps blood through the body, and sustained high blood pressure is not good for the heart.  Some of the effects of high blood pressure on the heart are coronary atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction(heart attack), cardiomyopathy, and congestive heart failure.

, How High Blood Pressure Affects The Heart, Dr. Nicolle

High blood pressure causes an increased workload on the heart as it pumps blood out to the body.  If you think of the heart as a muscle, you can imagine that an overworked muscle can become damaged over time.  One of the complications is cardiomyopathy which is a weakening of the muscles of the heart.  Over time, the weakened heart will lose its ability to pump blood effectively, and thus will not be able to meet the demands of the body in maintaining normal homeostasis.

As the heart works harder, it requires more oxygen to keep working which means that it needs more blood flow.  An inefficient heart is not able to meet the demands of the body, but it also cannot meet its own demands.  This combination leads to congestive heart failure in which an inefficient heart struggles to meet the oxygen demands of the rest of the body.

The maintenance of normal blood pressure during your entire lifetime is one of the keys to prevent this difficult disease from occurring.

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, How High Blood Pressure Affects The Heart, Dr. Nicolle


I’m excited to talk about this topic today because not only do I truly believe that you have the power to reverse heart disease and lower high blood pressure to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of these chronic diseases so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.


As you may already know, I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you improve blood pressure and reverse heart disease. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.


Tools to Improve Heart Health

Blood Pressure Monitoring

It’s very important to monitor your blood pressure. I often recommend an automatic upper arm blood pressure cuff, but a wrist blood pressure monitor is also acceptable.

7 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor
, How High Blood Pressure Affects The Heart, Dr. Nicolle

7 Series Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor, How High Blood Pressure Affects The Heart, Dr. Nicolle

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in blood pressure control, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor.

Body Composition Monitor And Scale With Seven Fitness Indicators
, How High Blood Pressure Affects The Heart, Dr. Nicolle

Body Composition Monitor And Scale With Seven Fitness Indicators, How High Blood Pressure Affects The Heart, Dr. NicolleRemember, healthy lifestyle behaviors–like eating a whole-foods plant-based diet that is low in sodium, being physically active, and stress management are the best ways to prevent and control high blood pressure. Please talk with your doctor about any complementary health approaches, including supplements, you use.


Let me know what you think in the comment section below.


Stay healthy,


Dr. Nicolle


PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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How High Blood Pressure Affects The Heart

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