High Blood Pressure: The Relationship Between Atherosclerosis and Hypertension

Hypertension can cause atherosclerosis and atherosclerosis causes high blood pressure. Whilst they are different conditions, the prevention and natural treatment for each of them is similar. This article describes the relationship between the two conditions and how to prevent them.

The relationship between atherosclerosis and hypertension

Atherosclerosis affects the smooth muscles inside of the arteries causing them to lose elasticity. The arteries also become narrowed or blocked. This constricts the blood flow and raises blood pressure. Hypertension is a symptom of something wrong inside our bodies.

The development of atherosclerosis is thought to begin with damage being caused to endothelial cells or surface cells lining the inside of our arteries. The smooth muscles are underneath the endothelial cells. There are several factors that can cause endothelial damage, one of which is hypertension – which is…

A risk fact or heart disease, heart attack and strokes

Atherosclerosis can cause blood clots that can stop the blood supply to a vital organ, such as:

  • when the heart is affected, tissue is damaged or destroyed causing sudden heart failure or death; and
  • when the brain is affected, brain tissue is destroyed or impaired, which can lead to stroke, paralysis, functional impairment, coma or death.

Prevention and reversal

Hypertension and atherosclerosis can both be prevented and to some extent reversed by making some simple lifestyle adjustments. These are;

#1. Have a healthy diet:

A balanced healthy diet aimed at reducing hypertension, such as the DASH diet, is also effective at preventing the development of atherosclerosis. Such a diet is effective because it eliminates several the dietary causes of atherosclerosis. These are:

  • high cholesterol levels
  • high saturated fat content
  • inflammation of the arteries
  • high amounts of oxidation agents
  • high content of low density lipoprotein (LDL) and low content of high density lipoprotein (HDL)

#2. Regular exercise:

As little as 30 to 40 minutes of daily cardiovascular exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, jogging or swimming, can lower systolic pressure by between 4 and 8 points and the benefits last for almost 24 hours.

Research shows that this type and amount of daily exercise, especially in middle age, has health benefits that last into old age. The reason for this is that regular exercise reduces inflammation of the arteries, which can cause hypertension and atherosclerosis.

#3. Lose weight:

There is a direct correlation between being overweight and having hypertension. Systolic pressure can be reduced by between 5 and 20 points for every 20 pounds of excess weight that we lose.

Furthermore, slimming down to our natural body weight reduces the risk of developing atherosclerosis because our systolic pressure will be much nearer to normal.

#4. Quit smoking:

Smoking raises blood pressure by causing the smooth muscles in our arteries to become less elastic. Smoking can also cause endothelial damage leading to the development of atherosclerosis.

#5. Reduce alcohol consumption:

Limiting alcohol consumption to one unit a day does not appear to have any harmful effects. However, consumption above this level can cause weight gain that leads to hypertension. Long-term heavy consumption can cause organ damage and might also cause endothelial damage leading to the development of atherosclerosis.

These simple lifestyle changes can protect you from the development of atherosclerosis and hypertension. They can also lower your high blood pressure naturally.

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