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.
Current as of: December 15, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
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