Another disease, hypertension, commonly called high blood pressure, is often associated with arteriosclerosis. Hypertension makes the heart work harder and may lead to such complications as a heart attack, a stroke, or kidney failure.
Treatment for arteriosclerosis and hypertension includes rest, exercise, and changes in the diet. Doctors may prescribe various drugs to lower the blood pressure, strengthen the heart, or prevent infection and blood clots. In extreme cases, a surgeon may remove clots or replace one or more diseased blood vessels.
Other disorders of the circulatory system result from damage or defects in the heart or blood vessels. For example, rheumatic fever may harm or destroy the valves that control the flow of blood through the heart. Incomplete development of the heart or its blood vessels before birth may produce defects called congenital heart disorders. Some cases of damage or defects can be corrected by surgery.