Atherosclerosis

Prevention and treatment can drastically reduce risk for heart disease.

JoAnne M. Foody, 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

CardioSmart News

Stumbling Block in Attempt to Reduce Risk of Complications from Surgery

Apr 15, 2014
Aspirin and blood-pressure lowering medication fail to improve outcomes in surgical patients at risk for heart disease.

Indoor Smoking Ban Saves Lives

Apr 04, 2014
Michigan’s new smoke-free air laws helped reduce hospitalizations from heart disease, finds study.
CardioSmart News

Celiac Disease Linked to Increased Heart Disease Risk

Apr 01, 2014
Study suggests inflammation associated with celiac disease may increase risk for heart disease and stroke.
CardioSmart News

Study Tests New Medication for Chronic Coronary Heart Disease

Mar 31, 2014

A new drug to reduce inflammation shows no added benefit in patients with stable heart disease.

Marriage Linked to Lower Heart Risk

Mar 29, 2014
People who are married have fewer heart problems than those who are single, divorced or widowed, according to recent study.

Diet Drinks Could Spell Heart Trouble for Older Women

Mar 29, 2014
Largest study of its kind links frequent diet drink consumption to increased risk for heart disease in older women.

Study Sparks Debate Over Saturated Fats

Mar 27, 2014
Researchers involved in new study question the association between fat consumption and heart health.

Secondhand Smoke Causes Permanent Damage to Children's Arteries

Mar 13, 2014
Exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood ages arteries later in life, study finds.

Panel: Depression Should be a Risk Factor for Heart Disease

Mar 12, 2014
After thorough review, experts recommend adding depression to the list of risk factors for heart disease.

Sudden Death in College Athletes: Cause for Concern?

Feb 27, 2014
Ten-year study finds risk of sudden cardiac death among college athletes is actually lower than in the general population.

Improving America's Health through Active Transportation

Feb 26, 2014
Partners unite to promote active transportation across the country with new platform called “Safe Routes to Everywhere.”

Devices in Public Places Restart Hearts

Feb 21, 2014
Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can help minimally trained bystanders save persons experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

Safety Concerns About Prescription Weight Loss Pills

Feb 20, 2014
Experts are concerned about the safety of two weight loss pills recently approved for use in the United States.

CVS to Stop Selling Cigarettes; Will Others Follow?

Feb 19, 2014
As CVS vows to eliminate cigarette and tobacco sales over the next year, experts hope other pharmacies will follow their lead to help reduce smoking rates nationwide.

New Smartphone App Estimates Heart Disease Risk

Feb 13, 2014
The American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association have teamed up to launch a new risk app based on the latest guidelines.

Cutting Back on Sugar for a Healthy Heart

Feb 10, 2014
Almost three-fourths of American adults consume too much added sugar in their diets.

Improvements in Heart Patient Safety Among U.S. Hospitals

Feb 07, 2014
Study finds fewer complications among patients hospitalized for heart attack or heart failure between 2005 and 2011.

Not All Plaque is Created Equal

Jan 15, 2014
Plaque density may prove an important factor when calculating risk for heart disease, heart attack and stroke, according to a recent study.

Anti-Smoking Efforts Saved 8 Million Lives—and Counting

Jan 15, 2014
On the 50th anniversary of the Surgeon General’s first report on smoking and health, study finds tobacco control efforts have increased life expectancy and saved millions of American lives.

Multivitamins Fail to Improve Memory in Older Men

Jan 10, 2014
Study findings suggest that daily multivitamins fail to prevent cognitive decline in older adults.

Depression and Heart Disease: A Likely Pair

Dec 09, 2013
Improved diagnosis and treatment of depression in heart patients may improve outcomes, according to recent update.

Energy Drinks Increase the Heart's Contraction Rate

Dec 09, 2013
Study suggests that energy drinks may be unsafe for children and individuals with existing heart conditions, like an irregular heartbeat.

Magnesium Helps Keep Arteries Healthy

Nov 27, 2013
People with higher magnesium intake have healthier arteries, study finds.

Nut Consumption Linked to Longevity

Nov 26, 2013
Study finds that regular consumption of nuts could lower risk of death by as much as 20%.
CardioSmart News

It's Easier to Lose Weight with Family and Friends, Study Finds

Nov 25, 2013
Weight loss interventions in social networks are more effective than standard care.

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