Blog #681 Blood Pressure III

More on Blood Pressure

Looking at Mayo Clinic

Some of these are truly SCARY!!!  Disclaimer – read at your own risk – that might force you to change your lifestyle and health habits!!!

High blood pressure (hypertension) can quietly damage your body for years before symptoms develop. Left uncontrolled, you may wind up with a disability, a poor quality of life or even a fatal heart attack. Roughly half the people with untreated hypertension die of heart disease related to poor blood flow (ischemic heart disease) and another third die of stroke.

First – what is a stroke?  (If you said it was a shot with a golf club you are right, but wrong topic!!!!0

Stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain.  

I have a good friend who had a stroke about two years ago.  He was a vital human being. He loved life. For his job, he traveled quite a bit (frequently to Canada).  The initial stroke left him partially handicapped with limited speech. Since then (and hundreds of hours of therapy) some speech has resumed – but not fluent.  What used to be a sentence now takes minutes to get expressed. You can tell that his brain is working but that his body doesn’t obey. His left side is partially paralyzed, although better with therapy as he can walk around (not fast) and his steps are staggered as he can take a big right step and then slowly bring the left foot even with the right foot.  

Your life is in two places – the heart (a non-functioning heart is ‘death’); and the brain (a non-functionally or limited functioning brain leads to loss of speech and being paralyzed).


High Blood Pressure and Arteries

Arteries move blood (and therefore nutrients) around the body.  As a person breathes, oxygen (and other gases) enter the lungs. That oxygen is pumped around the body.  The main artery in the body is the aorta – it leaves the heart – makes an upward arc. That ascending part of the aorta has with three major sub-arteries that ‘feed’ the brain and left and right arms (and more).  

The aorta then descends and carries blood to the abdomen and legs.  

Arteries are like hoses that supply the body with good stuff (oxygen from the lungs, food nutrients from the stomach, and more).  They should be flexible, strong and elastic. High blood pressure causes those arteries to become rigid. They can narrow with build-ups of plague and fat on the walls.  When blood pressure gets too high it can cut new channels in the arteries. [Aside, growing up and driving through rural landscapes, you could see creeks and streams in the various pastures.  They generally meandered through the area. But when a flood occurred sometimes the streams cut new channels and the old channels became lakes – or just dry creek beds. Look at a map of Omaha Nebraska and find Carter Lake Iowa).  At one point, the Missouri River made a loop around Carter Lake which kept that town in Iowa. But a flood cut a new channel for the Missouri River and cut Carter Lake off from Iowa. It now is an isolated area wholly surrounded by Omaha.  You can only get to Carter Lake Iowa by driving through parts of Nebraska (or parts of Omaha).]

When blood pressure cuts a new channel it becomes an aneurysm.  The article states: “Over time, the constant pressure of blood moving through a weakened artery can cause a section of its wall to enlarge and form a bulge (aneurysm). An aneurysm can potentially rupture and cause life-threatening internal bleeding. Aneurysms can form in any artery throughout your body, but they’re most common in your body’s largest artery (aorta).

I had several ‘cuts’ to my aorta lining and thus several new channels.  My left kidney was largely getting ‘fed’ by a ‘false channel’ (i.e. aneurysm).  The surgeon had to disconnect the three arteries that go to the brain and left and right sides (the ascending aorta), fix the holes and then reattach the arteries.  (It only took the team 6.5 hours – and my blood was routed through an exterior faux heart as they needed to shut my heart off during the surgery.

Moral to the story – keep your blood pressure down!!!

More tomorrow (I guess I went off on a tangent today)!!!


Posted by Bruce White

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