Millions of people suffer from high blood pressure. Many people don’t know they have high blood pressure or don't treat it because it presents very few physical symptoms. People without the benefit of regular healthcare rarely realize they have high blood pressure due to its lack of physical symptoms. These people are more susceptible to complications and other diseases.

While it’s possible to get hypersensitive heart disease (HHD) even though you get regular checkups and try to control your blood pressure, those without proper healthcare suffer from an increased risk of developing HHD. The heart is a fantastic organ, but it can't take the abuse of prolonged exposure to high blood pressure.

Increased blood pressure forces your heart to work under harsh conditions and leads to many other chronic diseases or conditions. Unfortunately, like high blood pressure, many of these diseases and conditions present very few physical symptoms. Undiagnosed or untreated HHD leads to heart failure, coronary heart disease (CHD), damage to the heart muscle, and other conditions.

What is Hypersensitive Heart Disease?

Heart disease

​Hypersensitive heart disease is the chief cause of death in people that suffer from high blood pressure. It affects the heart muscle and the arteries that feed the heart. High blood pressure may cause problems with an artery or primary blood vessel, but the heart is the engine that pumps the blood, so it takes most of the abuse. Therefore, the heart fails before other parts of the circulatory system give up.

You may develop a number of conditions or diseases related to high blood pressure, but hypersensitive heart disease is more common in most people. The complications, conditions, and chronic diseases directly associated with HHD belong to a long list. However, most commonly people with HHD get categorized as those with narrowing arteries or heart muscle conditions.

Narrowing of the arteries is one of the most common conditions brought on by high blood pressure and HHD. The coronary arteries provide a path for blood to and from your heart muscles. When blood vessels begin to get narrow due to high blood pressure, it reduces the flow of blood to all your major organs including your heart.

Coronary heart disease is the result of narrowing blood vessels and reduced blood flow that often causes heart failure. Your heart is forced to work much harder to supply the rest of your body with blood, and it takes a toll. People with coronary heart disease sometimes called coronary artery disease, run the risk of having a heart attack of developing blood clots that stop the flow of blood.

The other side of HHD is the thickening of the heart muscle or the enlargement of the heart. It seems a bit backward or inconsistent since HHD and high blood pressure cause narrowing blood vessels, but they also cause the heart muscle to get thicker and the heart to grow or swell. Your heart changes the way it works due to these conditions, or it ceases to function.

The main concern is left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH). LVH is when the left ventricle of your heart, the part that does most of the pumping, becomes enlarged due to overwork or poor working conditions. Left ventricular hypertrophy may be caused by coronary heart disease, or the reverse may happen. An overworked heart may get enlarged and compress the arteries causing coronary heart disease.

Symptoms of Hypersensitive Heart Disease


​The various forms of heart disease remain the leading cause of death among people in the US. Well over half a million people die from heart disease each year. Sadly, many of these deaths could be avoided by weight control measures, exercise, proper nutrition, and kicking some of the bad habits we all indulge in each day.

The risk factors for heart-related diseases increases if there is a history of these diseases in your family. In many cases, your lifestyle creates many of the complications you suffer from high blood pressure to heart failure. That said, your chances of developing these diseases is still related to how you treat your body. Treat it well, and your risk is reduced.

High blood pressure often presents no symptoms until the complications related to it start to pop up like heart disease. In most cases, when symptoms appear it's usually late in the game and treatment options may be limited. However, regular checkups and healthcare may reveal high blood pressure and the complications related to it.

Those issues aside, finding a condition early increases your chances of treating it and reversing it if possible. Some of the main symptoms to look out for include:

  • ​Leg and ankle swelling
  • ​A random but persistent cough
  • ​Pain in your neck and shoulders with no apparent cause
  • ​General fatigue
  • ​Shortness of breath without strenuous activity
  • ​Chest pain
  • ​Tightness or pressure in your chest

If you experience any of these symptoms often or randomly, seek medical care immediately. Sudden rapid heartbeat or if your heart almost feels like it is fluttering in your chest is a sign there is a problem and should be investigated by a doctor right away. If you are thirty years old or older, talk to your healthcare provider about ways to reduce your risk. Make them aware of your symptoms.

A physical exam is the next step once you have your symptoms under control. Your doctor should run some lab work and check your kidneys. They’ll look into your sodium and potassium levels since sodium increases your risk while potassium may reduce your risk. You won’t have to worry about these levels if you follow a proper nutrition plan, but it’s not a bad idea to get checked out anyway.

Diagnosing and Hypersensitive Heart Disease

diagnosing heart

​Your healthcare provider may do a number of things to determine your condition or risks. You need to be brutally honest with your provider and yourself about your lifestyle and nutrition. They may recommend exercise or medication plus provide you with information to help you better understand what’s going on inside your body.

Once they run labs and check everything out, if your provider thinks you have a heart condition or you risk developing one, they may order a number of other tests to narrow down what conditions to worry over and how to treat them. These tests may include:

  • Nuclear stress test: This test looks at the blood flow in and out of your heart. Be prepared for this test because it requires exercise during a portion of the testing phase.
  • ​Electrocardiogram: This test monitors the electrical activity that occurs in your heart. They’ll stick some nodes on your body and track the results on a screen nearby. Try not to ask many questions during the process to prevent altering the readings.
  • Echocardiogram: This is little more than an ultrasound of the heart but reveals a great deal of information your doctor needs in cases where other tests prove inconsistent.
  • Exercise stress test: This is probably the most trying test for you, especially if you are out of shape or don’t exercise regularly. You’ll need to walk on a treadmill or pedal an exercise bike for an extended period. If you feel faint or have chest pains during the test, let your doctor know right away.
  • ​Coronary angiography: This test looks at the blood flow in your coronary arteries. This is a moderately invasive test. A catheter is inserted in your groin area and pushed up to your heart. They may choose to use an artery in your arm for this test, but the groin is the most common entry point. It sounds scary, but the test is relatively routine for most cardiologists.

Treating Hypersensitive Heart Disease

stethoscope and heart

​Once your doctor diagnoses you, some treatment options may be recommended. Your doctor will explain what each treatment is and how it may affect you physically. Be prepared to alter your lifestyle. Unless you have an advanced case of hypersensitive heart disease, medication is the first likely treatment.

Your doctor’s goal is to lower your blood pressure and improve your blood flow. This prevents further complications and prevents blood clots if it works. Blood clots may move to your heart or lungs and stop blood flow which usually results in death. They may want to reduce your cholesterol as well, but cholesterol is not always an issue. Medications may include:

  • ​Water pills to help your blood pressure
  • ​Nitrates for chest pain
  • ​Aspirin to help lower your chance for blood clots
  • ​Blockers and inhibitors designed to reduce blood pressure
  • ​Statins for high cholesterol treatment

While not always an option, or necessary, surgery may be part of the treatment if you need specific procedures like valve repair or a pacemaker. A cardioverter-defibrillator may be implanted to help jump-start your heart if it fails due to cardio arrhythmias or other reasons related to your heart stopping suddenly.


​Recovering from any of the conditions mentioned in this article is possible if you catch them soon enough or get the right treatment. Even if you do not have these conditions now or your doctor considers you low risk, it pays to monitor your blood pressure and be aware of the options available to you. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have concerns or need advice on prevention.

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