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

Drop in Hospitalizations for Heart Disease and Stroke

Aug 25, 2014
There have been significant improvements in the treatment and prevention of heart disease in the past decade, based on national hospital trends.

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk for Heart Disease

Aug 19, 2014
The closer you adhere to a Mediterranean diet, the lower your cardiovascular risk may be, finds Spanish study.

Heart Disease Trends Vary by Race and Gender

Aug 19, 2014
Women and African-Americans hit hardest by traditional risk factors for heart disease, finds study.

Folic Acid Deficiency Rare in U.S.

Aug 19, 2014
Study finds folic acid deficiency is extremely rare, making routine tests unnecessary in the general population.

All-in-One Pill to Prevent Heart Disease?

Aug 08, 2014
A polypill to prevent heart disease has the potential to save millions of lives, according to experts.

Sitting Too Much Diminishes Fitness Level

Aug 08, 2014
No matter how much you may exercise, sitting for long periods of time reduces fitness, finds study.

Staying Active and Reducing Sedentary Time Key to Combating Obesity

Aug 08, 2014
Study finds that increasing physical activity and limiting sedentary time is the best combination for obesity prevention.

Reducing Risk of Heart Complications During Surgery

Aug 01, 2014
New guidelines help doctors and patients make the best possible decisions related to non-cardiac surgery.

Reducing Health Disparities in Hispanics and Latinos

Jul 31, 2014
Hispanics in the U.S. face dramatic health disparities, according to a recently-released statement.

Short Runs May Help Adults Live Longer, Healthier Lives

Jul 29, 2014
According to a recent study, running just 5-10 minutes a day could have significant health benefits.

Heat Stroke, Not Sudden Cardiac Death, is Top Threat for Marathon Runners

Jul 28, 2014
Long distance running involves a slightly increased risk of death, with heat stroke being the main cause, finds study.

Minding Your Portions

Jul 28, 2014
Committing to a heart-healthy diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke or repeat events. This includes watching what you put on your plate.

Fitness Helps Predict Risk for Heart Disease

Jul 10, 2014
Fitness level is an important factor to consider when estimating a person’s 30-year risk of death from heart disease, according to a recent study.

Advances in Diagnosis of Heart Disease in Women

Jul 01, 2014
Gender-specific research has led to significant advancements in the diagnosis of heart disease in women, according to a recent statement.

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women Encouraged to Increase Seafood Consumption

Jun 24, 2014
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recently updated guidelines regarding seafood consumption for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

E-cigarettes Can Help Smokers Quit

Jun 23, 2014
E-cigarettes are as effective as the patch in helping smokers quit, finds study.

Heart Events Worsen Outcomes for Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease

Jun 23, 2014

Study highlights importance of heart disease prevention for patients with chronic kidney disease.

Are Diet Drinks on Par with Water for Losing Weight?

Jun 13, 2014
According to a new study, diet beverages could help people lose more weight than drinking water alone.

Phone-Based Support Helps Heart Patients with Depression

Jun 12, 2014
Researchers develop simple, cost-effective treatment for heart patients diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

Spirit of the Heart in South Bronx, NY

Jun 07, 2014
Spirit of the Heart events offer heart disease screening and events in underserved communities.

Web-Based Program Helps Patients Improve Heart Health

Jun 05, 2014
Not only do Web-based programs help patients lower risk for heart disease, they’re more affordable than traditional counseling, according to study.

Worldwide Obesity Rates 'Startling'

May 30, 2014
Major study finds obesity rates have increased dramatically in all corners of the world over last three decades.

NIH Engages Women in Medical Research

May 29, 2014
The National Institutes of Health has unveiled new policies that will engage women in all phases of medical research.

Reducing Salt Intake, Nationwide

May 22, 2014
Experts identify ways to reduce salt consumption and improve heart health in the United States.

'Exercise Snacking': The Latest Health Trend?

May 14, 2014
Adding small bursts of exercise before meals could bring big health benefits, finds study.

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