Nouvelles - News - Notícies - Noticias - Notizia

Hypertension and Cardiovascular system: How are arteries impacted more than veins?

Posted on Apr 24,2017

We often hear from doctors that your arteries are in problem due to high blood pressure, but we rarely hear something like this about veins. So, do you wonder why there is a talk about arteries always, but not the veins? What is the relation between arteries, veins, cardiovascular system, heart, other organs in the body and hypertension? I promise your doubts will be cleared by the time you finish reading the last sentence of the article.

What is the Cardiovascular system?

The cardiovascular system is made up of your fist sized heart, arteries, veins, and 5litres of blood. The heart is responsible for pumping the blood to all the organs in the body through arteries. The heart generates the pressure which is needed to pump the blood to various parts of the body through arteries. At the receiving end, arteries get connected to smaller vessels called arterioles and capillaries inside the organs. The ultimate function of the blood is to supply the oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to the organs through arterioles and capillaries.

After discharging the required nutrients and oxygen to the organs, the impure blood with cellular waste products and carbon dioxide is collected in the venules which in turn is transported to the heart through veins.

The impure blood is collected in the upper right side of the heart, right atrium, from which it is flowed to the right ventricle, the lower chamber. From the right ventricle, blood is pumped to the lungs for purification. The purified blood is transported from lungs to the left atrium and then from the left atrium to left ventricle. The left ventricle pumps the blood to the whole body through a big vessel called aorta which further divides into various sized arteries, ultimately to arterioles and capillaries in the organs.

For this entire process to run, in other words for the proper functioning of the circulatory system, the pressure generated from the left side of the heart is the engine force. When the blood pressure is high, the most common form of hypertension being essential hypertension, wherein the cause is unknown; the high blood pressure can cause varied changes in the whole circulatory system that finally has a bad effect on organs. Let us learn how the process happens.

Why are arteries more talked about than veins regarding high blood pressure?

The basic structural difference between arteries and veins is the reason why blood pressure is related more to arteries than veins. Arteries have more muscle fibers and more elastic fibers, which are the cause for the contractility of the vessels. The arteries are structured in a way to tolerate the normal pressure generated from the heart to carry the blood. The arteries have less lumen that is also responsible for maintaining the existent blood pressure. The veins have fewer muscle fibers, less elastic fibers, and more lumen which can dilute the pressure carried out from the arteries, so they have comparatively less pressure than arteries. This is the normal physiology we are talking about why arteries have more pressure when compared to veins; the same reasons are applicable when we discuss why arteries are more affected in hypertension than veins.

What are the Effects of Hypertension on Arteries, Heart, and Organs?

Arteries: The continuous flow of high pressured blood in the arteries can weaken the vessel wall. As the arteries are elastic, they expand at the weaker spots due to elasticity and the high pressure and can cause aneurysms. An aneurysm is the dilated portion of the blood vessel wall. Aneurysms when enlarged can break and can cause hemorrhage which is life threatening.

The other effect of hypertension on arteries is thickening of the arteries, and making them rigid like a pipe, the phenomenon called Arteriosclerosis. This can further increase the pressure as the normal elastic nature of the artery wall is lost. The same thing can happen in arterioles and capillaries.


Heart: When people suffer from Hypertension, the heart compensates by increasing its muscle mass in the left ventricle to do more work in pushing the blood. The increased muscle mass also needs more food, that is more energy and more oxygen supply, and when the oxygen demand cannot be met, the patient suffers from Myocardial Infarction or Heart attack.

The other effect of Hypertension is Heart failure wherein the Heart[Left Ventricle] becomes weak, and cannot pump the whole blood in the chamber to the aorta which further supplies to the entire body. So, there is insufficient blood to the organs of the body.

Organs: All the internal functions of the organs are carried out by the proper supply of the blood[nutrients, hormones, oxygen] from arterioles and capillaries. Hypertension can cause arteriosclerosis, that is thickening of small blood vessels. When the small blood vessels fail to supply sufficient blood, the function of the organ, be it kidney, or eye is disturbed which can lead to Organ Failure. Hypertensive Nephropathy [Kidney Failure] and Hypertensive Retinopathy[Eye] are the examples.

All these untoward effects are a result of untreated chronic hypertension. We can avoid them by undergoing regular screening and self measurement with caracal and by taking right treatment for Hypertension.

Author: Dr. Chaithanya R
Bio: Dr. Chaithanya R is a General Physician, a Diabetologist, a Medical writer, and a Medical Researcher. She has immensely contributed to the medical field by writing thousands of medical articles. She is also a well known Telemedicine online specialist, treated patients worldwide on various online platforms. Her immense quest to explore new things in the medical field never stops.

Comments are Closed