Health Encyclopedia

How High Blood Pressure Damages Arteries

How High Blood Pressure Damages Arteries

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 along the artery wall, forming a plaque. This plaque narrows the artery and makes the artery stiff (atherosclerosis). This is also called "hardening of the arteries." The plaque limits, or even blocks, the blood that is flowing through the artery. Over time, plaque can cause problems throughout the body.

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

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

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

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Last Revised April 5, 2013

Last Revised: April 5, 2013

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.