Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

Font Size

How High Blood Pressure Damages Arteries


High blood pressure means that blood is pushing too hard against artery walls. The force of this blood can damage the delicate inner lining of the artery walls.

If this inner lining is damaged, fat and calcium can build up in the artery wall, forming a plaque. This plaque makes the artery stiff (atherosclerosis). This is also called "hardening of the arteries." The plaque might narrow the artery. This narrowing could reduce the amount of blood that is flowing through the artery. Over time, plaque can cause problems throughout the body.

If arteries to the heart are affected, coronary artery disease, a heart attack, or abnormal heartbeats may happen.

If arteries to the brain are affected, a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) may happen.

If arteries to other organs are affected, problems such as kidney failure, peripheral arterial disease, or eye damage may happen.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRobert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology

Current as ofAugust 13, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 13, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

blood pressure
Symptoms, causes, and more.
Learn the causes.
Compressed heart
5 habits to change.
Mature man floating in pool, goggles on head
Exercises that help.
heart healthy living
Erectile Dysfunction Slideshow
Bernstein Hypertension Affects Cardiac Risk
Compressed heart
Heart Disease Overview Slideshow
thumbnail for lowering choloesterol slideshow
Heart Foods Slideshow
Low Blood Pressure