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Heart Problems and High Blood Pressure Associated with Breast Cancer – Side Effects

Extracted from breastcancer.org

If you’re having heart problems you may feel that your heart is beating irregularly, very fast, or forcefully in your chest. You may have chest pains or experience a heart attack.

Symptoms of heart problems include:

  • breathing problems
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • coughing
  • swelling of feet and lower legs
  • feeling weak or dizzy
  • fatigue

Many things can cause heart problems, including stress, being overweight, and smoking. Several breast cancer treatments may cause heart problems:

Avoiding heart problems

If you have chest pain or trouble breathing, talk to your doctor right away. Since heart problems can be caused by so many things, it’s important to figure out exactly what’s happening. Your doctor may test your heart before you start treatment for breast cancer and several times while you’re having treatment. If you do happen to have any treatment-related problems, your heart will probably regain its strength and full function after treatment ends.

Other tips to keep your heart as healthy during treatment:

  • Manage high blood pressure, if you’ve been diagnosed with it.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Exercise. Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and keep your heart (a muscle) fit.
  • Use relaxation techniques such as meditation and visualization to help reduce your stress levels.
  • Manage your cholesterol levels. Lower your “bad” cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins) and raise your “good” cholesterol (high-density lipoproteins).
  • Eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Reduce the amount of fatty meat and sugar you eat.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, your heart has to work harder. Excess weight also raises your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, all of which can harm your heart.

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Your blood pressure is the force of your blood against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps. Every time your heart beats (this is the heart contracting), it pumps blood into the arteries. Your blood pressure is highest when your heart beats and lowest when the heart rests between beats. Blood pressure readings use two numbers, read one over the other. The top number (systolic pressure) measures blood pressure when the heart beats. The bottom number (diastolic pressure) measures blood pressure in between heartbeats. A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80 or slightly lower. If you have a blood pressure reading of 140/90 or higher, you’re considered to have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension).

High blood pressure usually doesn’t have any symptoms, so you may not realize you have it.

Several breast cancer treatments can cause high blood pressure:

Some pain medicines you may be taking during breast cancer treatment also can cause high blood pressure.

Managing high blood pressure

High blood pressure increases your risk of heart problems, stroke, and kidney problems. If you have chest pains, a severe headache, nausea, dizziness, or lose your sight, call your doctor immediately