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How High Blood Pressure Damages Arteries

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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.

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