Hypertension is a risk factor for heart attack and it continues to be a risk factor, even if a first ischemic episode has already occurred: “After an initial heart attack, blood pressure must be kept under control and corrected if it reoccurs in spite of drug therapy,” says Doctor Maddalena Lettino of the Cardiovascular Department at Humanitas.
Hypertension and the heart
The increase in blood pressure values, a measure of the force with which blood “pushes” on the walls of blood vessels, can put the entire cardiovascular system at risk: “Hypertension is the enemy of the heart because it forces it to endure greater fatigue by making it work less efficiently. It can also damage the arteries and promote atherosclerosis, which is the shrinking of blood vessels due to the accumulation of cholesterol deposits and other substances on their walls,” explains Dr. Lettino.
For this reason, hypertension is one of the main factors that contribute to the increase in the likelihood of myocardial infarction: “A hypertensive patient has a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack, although the case in which an individual develops hypertension after an infarction cannot be excluded”.
Prevention after heart attack
After a first cardiac event, it is essential to monitor all risk factors for cardiovascular health, from hyperglycemia to hypercholesterolemia, to hypertension. The objective of secondary prevention is to ensure that a second heart attack does not occur.
How can hypertension be controlled? “First with prescribed medication and then by correcting the lifestyle. It is important to maintain an adequate body weight, eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, less saturated fats, reduce salt intake, i.e. sodium, try to do regular physical activity, naturally in the light of one’s own state of health,” the specialist explains in conclusion.