Blood Pressure Changes During a Heart Attack

Any blood pressure changes that may occur during a heart attack are unpredictable. Blood pressure may increase, decrease, or does not change at all during a heart attack.

Updated: August 18, 2020

Any blood pressure changes that may occur during a heart attack are unpredictable. Blood pressure may increase, decrease, or do not change at all during a heart attack.

Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it is pushed from your heart and circulated throughout your body. When blood flow is restricted or blocked completely, the heart muscle is starved of oxygen leading to a heart attack. During a heart attack, blood pressure can go up, down, or remain constant, depending on how the body responds.

Increase in Blood Pressure:

During a heart attack the hormones, such as adrenaline, are released causing an increase in blood pressure. These hormones are released when the fight or flight response is triggered at times of intense stress or danger which will cause the heart to beat faster.


The decrease in Blood Pressure:

Sometimes blood pressure can decrease during a heart attack causing hypotension. Low blood pressure during a heart attack can be due to a few factors:

Your heart pumps less blood because its tissue is damaged:

During a heart attack, blood flow to your heart is blocked or cut off completely. This can damage or even kill the tissues that make up your heart muscle. Damaged or dead heart tissues reduce the amount of blood your heart can pump to the rest of your body.

In response to pain:

The severe pain from a heart attack can trigger a vasovagal response in some people. In the case of extreme stress or pain, your nervous system will have a vasovagal response. It causes a  temporary fall in blood pressure and can lead to fainting, sweating, and nausea.


High Blood Pressure and Heart Attacks:

If high blood pressure is left untreated, it could increase the risk of a heart attack and other heart-related complications. High blood pressure can be a measure of how hard the heart is having to work to pump blood around the body through the arteries.

High cholesterol contributes to plaque, which will narrow your blood vessels and increase your risk of developing a blood clot. This will result in blockage of arteries and it takes more pressure to push the blood throughout the body leading to heart disease and stroke.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure:

Mostly high blood pressure does not cause any symptoms. For this reason, high blood pressure can be a silent killer. The only way to check blood pressure is by monitoring it. Normal systolic blood pressure should not rise above 120, and normal diastolic pressure should not rise above 80. If you have a  reading of 140 over 90, or above, then you are diagnosed with high blood pressure. If the systolic blood pressure rises above 180, or if the diastolic blood pressure rises above 110, immediate action has to be taken and emergency care will be required.

Some of the common symptoms of high blood pressure include:

  • Headache - usually, this will last for several days.
  • Nausea - a sensation of unease and discomfort in the stomach with an urge to vomit.
  • Vomiting - less common than just nausea.
  • Dizziness - Lightheadedness, unsteadiness, and vertigo.
  • Blurred or double vision (diplopia).
  • Epistaxis - nosebleeds.
  • Palpitations - the forceful beating of the heart.
  • Dyspnea - breathlessness, shortness of breath.


What is a Silent Heart Attack?

A silent heart attack may have few or no usual symptoms. In some cases, people may feel tired or have flu-like symptoms, or they could experience indigestion or discomfort in their chest, back, arms, or jaw.

A silent heart attack can only be diagnosed through an electrocardiogram or MRI scan. In most of the cases, people having a silent attack will not realize any symptoms which can be fatal and worse than the regular kind of attack.


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