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A 36-year-old member asked:

how can a high blood pressure lead to cardiovascular disease?

4 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Busuttil
Vascular Surgery 33 years experience
Not well known: Although the answer is not well known it is believed that the constant increased pressure injures the vessels and atherosclerosis results over long periods of time.
Dr. Creighton Wright
General Surgery 56 years experience
Strain: The heart must pump against a high systemic pressure-like pumping heavier weights at the gym. This requires extra work and oxygen use. If there is coronary blockage that can cause a heart attack.
Dr. John Hammes
Nephrology and Dialysis 28 years experience
Several mechanisms: - damages blood vessels by harming cells lining them. - causes increased work/strain for heart muscle, causing it to enlarge (like any muscle that gets worked) ; over time, this process may result in impaired relaxation of heart (so it can't fill with blood) and dilation and weakening. High BP may cause hard/stiffening/narrowing of blood vessels (and thus not enough flow) also.
Dr. Doug Hansen
Family Medicine 22 years experience
Trauma.: There are many theories to how elevated blood pressure leads to cvd. The most accepted theory is that of trauma and stress. Think of a fast running "high pressure" river... The banks of the river will feel more stress and accumulate more damage and irregularities over time than a slow creek. This same damage occurs to the vascular intima (or lining of our blood vessels) when exposed to high bp.

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