This is a term that is used to describe the age-related, generalised, arterial changes which include muscular hypertrophy of the media, fibrosis and luminal changes. These changes are exaggerated in individuals with hypertension. Arteriosclerotic changes occurring in arteries down to about 1mm in diameter include medial hypertrophy and luminal dilatation. In individuals with hypertension there is often atherosclerotic change of vessels in addition.
In smaller arteries there are different changes in the structure of the arteries. These changes are most prominent in visceral arteries, notably those of the kidneys, and are characterised by medial hypertrophy, thickening of the intimal layer, and narrowing of the lumen.
In arterioles there may be hyaline thickening of the walls of the arteriole and luminal narrowing. If there is narrowing in the small vessels of the kidney then this will result in renal ischaemia and promote hypertension. Fibrinoid necrosis of arterioles occurs in malignant hypertension.
Last reviewed 01/2018