Arteriosclerosis / Atherosclerosis

Arteriosclerosis is a disorder characterized by a progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries. This condition is often called "hardening of the arteries." The hardening and thickening of the arteries causes a decrease in the blood circulation through the affected vessel and affects the organs it serves.

Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of fatty deposits (plaque) on the interior lining of the arterial walls. This plaque accumulation impedes the flow of blood. If the accumulation becomes too great, it may cause a complete blockage of blood flow through the artery, in turn, leading to damage to the tissues served by the affected blood vessel.

Although the onset of atherosclerosis is thought to be part of the normal aging process, other factors increase its likelihood and severity. These factors include hypertension, cigarette smoking, obesity, diabetes, elevated serum cholesterol levels, inactivity, and family predisposition.

There is no known cure for atherosclerosis. Making positive life style changes to reduce the impact of cardiac risk factors such as obesity, cigarette smoking, inactivity, and diet to reduce serum cholesterol levels are the best means of minimizing the effects of atherosclerosis.