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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 heart and the delicate inner lining of the artery walls. This damage can lead to many health problems.

One problem is atherosclerosis or "hardening of the arteries." This problem happens when the inner lining of an artery is damaged. Fat and calcium can build up in the artery wall. This buildup is called plaque. Over time, plaque can cause problems throughout the body. These problems include coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Arteries also carry blood and oxygen to organs like your eyes, kidneys, and brain. If high blood pressure damages those arteries, it can lead to vision loss, kidney disease, stroke, and a higher risk of dementia.

High blood pressure also makes your heart work harder. And that can lead to heart failure, which means your heart doesn't pump as much blood as your body needs.

Current as of: December 16, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD - Cardiology
Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine

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