JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOHN BAVOSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
High blood pressure. Artwork of some of the effects of high blood pressure (hypertension). This can be caused by an excess of calcium ions (green, lower centre), which causes contraction of the blood vessels (upper right). Hypertension can cause kidney failure (upper left) and can contribute to atherosclerosis. Hypertension can be treated with calcium channel blocking drugs. These interfere with the entry of calcium ions into smooth muscle cells. This impairs contraction of the muscle fibres and causes relaxation of muscle in blood vessel walls, thus reducing the blood pressure.
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