Atherosclerosis

Prevention and treatment can drastically reduce risk for heart disease.

Martha Gulati, MD, FACC, CardioSmart Editor-in-Chief
Learn more about Atherosclerosis

Think of a garden hose. It’s fairly flexible and, if it’s clear of dirt and debris, the water passes through fairly easily. But what happens if gunk or thick paste starts sticking to the inside of the hose? It would make it difficult for the once free-flowing water to move.

This is somewhat similar to what happens when the arteries in our bodies narrow or become hardened. This hardening and narrowing of the arteries—called atherosclerosis—makes it harder for blood to flow through them. 

Atherosclerosis is fairly common, especially as we age. It happens when fat and cholesterol in the blood form plaque which can build up inside the artery walls. If this plaque begins to block the arteries, it can slow and limit the flow of blood to your organs. When this happens it can cause serious problems in blood vessels throughout the body, including heart attack, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and kidney disease.

Many people don’t know they have atherosclerosis until it starts causing health problems. That’s why it’s so important for you to make healthy choices every day and get regular cholesterol screenings. Doing so can help you prevent problems down the line.

Use this condition center to learn more about atherosclerosis, create a list of questions to ask your health care provider and get practical tips.

Atherosclerosis News & Events

Staying Young at Heart: It's Never Too Early to Start Healthy Habits

Oct 03, 2019

Expert recommendations help healthy individuals prevent heart disease.

Diet Soda and Sugary Drinks May Affect Lifespan, Study Finds

Sep 29, 2019
Two or more sodas a day shown to increase risk of death in nearly half a million Europeans.

Consumption of Plant-Based Proteins Could Add Years to Your Life

Sep 17, 2019

Study suggests that we eat plenty of plant-based foods, while limiting red and processed meat.

Not All Plant-Based Foods are Created Equal

Sep 13, 2019
Just because a food is vegetarian does not mean it promotes health and longevity. 

Strict Insurance Policies Reduce Access to Life-Saving Cholesterol Drugs

Aug 16, 2019

Most patients never get the PCSK9 inhibitors they’re prescribed, putting them at increased risk for heart events.

Three Prevention Efforts Could Save 94 Million Lives Over 25 Years

Jul 11, 2019

Global analysis shows that improving blood pressure and diet could save millions of lives over the next few decades.

Healthy Arteries are Linked to Better Heart Function in Middle Age

Jul 11, 2019

Developing heart-healthy habits as a young adult helps keep your heart strong in middle age.

Study Supports Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatment in All Adults with Diabetes

Jun 04, 2019
Intensive blood pressure treatment isn't just for high-risk patients with type 2 diabetes.

Red and Processed Meats Increase Risk for Heart Disease

Jun 03, 2019
Not all animal products threaten heart health, finds European study of 500,000 adults.
CardioSmart News

Imaging Scans for Cancer Provide Useful Information About Heart Health

Mar 28, 2019

Life-saving information about cardiovascular risk is overlooked about half of the time.

CardioSmart News

Study Links a Hearty Breakfast and Less TV to Healthier Arteries

Mar 12, 2019
Greek study finds adults who ate a high-energy breakfast and spent less time on the sofa had healthier arteries.

Nuts May Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Death in Diabetics

Mar 11, 2019

A study of U.S. health professionals found significant benefit from eating five or more servings of nuts a week.

Study Links E-Cigarettes to Heart Attacks, Heart Disease and Depression

Mar 07, 2019

U.S. survey study links e-cigarette use to increased risk for heart problems and a host of other health issues.

Study Links Diet Drinks to Increased Risk of Stroke and Heart Disease

Feb 26, 2019
Drinking two or more diet drinks a day increases heart risks for women, study finds.

Latest Statistics Say Nearly Half of Americans Have Some Form of Heart Disease

Feb 19, 2019
An annual report from the American Heart Association explains the rise in heart disease rates and emphasizes prevention.

Experts Highlight the Strong Link Between Depression and Heart Disease

Feb 19, 2019
Given high rates of depression among heart patients, experts encourage better screening and treatment for mental health.

Experts Address Safety of Heart Medications During Pregnancy

Feb 04, 2019
The use of heart medications takes careful consideration between women and their providers, explain experts.

Study Supports Enhanced Screening Prior to Invasive Heart Disease Imaging

Jan 10, 2019

Better screening could reduce unnecessary tests and procedures in patients being evaluated for heart disease, study finds.

The Importance of Promoting Heart Health in Early Childhood

Jan 02, 2019
Experts encourage early adoption of healthy habits to reduce cardiovascular risk later in life.

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk for Heart Events in Women

Dec 19, 2018
Study finds that the Mediterranean diet reduces cardiovascular risk by minimizing inflammation, controlling blood sugar and promoting a healthy weight.

Study Supports BMI as a Screening Tool for Heart Health

Dec 19, 2018

The simple ratio of height to weight can identify young adults with increased health risks.

Women with Heart Disease Report Worse Treatment and Patient Satisfaction Than Men

Dec 19, 2018

Women are less likely to be taking preventive medicines and seek care at the ER more frequently.

Top CardioSmart News Articles of 2018

Dec 13, 2018

This year's most read patient summaries worth a second look.

Two Daily Servings of Dairy Helps Reduce Risk for Heart Disease

Oct 03, 2018
Global study finds that consumption of milk, cheese and yogurt helps reduce cardiovascular risk, regardless of fat content.

Optimism and Happiness Aid in Heart Disease Prevention

Sep 20, 2018

Health promotion series highlights the importance of positive thinking for improving heart health.