Health Concern On Your Mind?
See what your medical symptoms could mean, and learn about possible conditions.
Drugs & Supplements
Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.
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.
Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.
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.
Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.
Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.
Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.
Healthy arteries have smooth inner walls. Your blood flows through them without a problem. The blood vessels stay strong and flexible.
But when you have high blood pressure, blood flows through your arteries with too much force, even though you can't feel it. Over time, this pressure damages the walls of your arteries . They aren't smooth anymore. They get rough spots on them where fat and calcium start to build up. This buildup is called plaque (say "plak").
Plaque is part of atherosclerosis, sometimes called "hardening of the arteries." Over time, the plaque narrows the artery and blocks blood flow through it.
Atherosclerosis makes your arteries narrower. It also makes them stiffer. Blood can't flow through them as easily. This lack of good blood flow starts to damage some of the organs in your body.
This damage doesn't happen all at once. It happens slowly over time. But you can't tell that it's happening, because you don't feel anything. It can lead to:
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
©2005-2016 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.