If left untreated, hypertension can lead to the thickening of arterial walls causing its lumen, or blood passage way, to narrow in diameter. As a result, the heart must work harder to pump blood through the narrowed arterial openings. In addition, people with hypertension may be more susceptible to stroke.
Update Date 5/21/2012
Updated by: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.