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

Poor Diet Negatively Impacts Sleep Patterns in Middle-School Children

May 23, 2013
Among children, a link found between diet and sleep may be the key to promoting better heart health as adults.

Smokeless Tobacco Trends in Adolescents

May 16, 2013
Smokeless tobacco use remains unchanged between 2000 and 2011 among middle and high school students.

Pets May Boost Heart Health

May 15, 2013
After a comprehensive review of existing research, experts acknowledge an association between pet ownership and reduced cardiovascular risk.

Heart Patients Slow to Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes

May 08, 2013
Despite benefits, many heart patients fail to adopt healthy lifestyle changes following diagnosis.

Physically Demanding Jobs Increase Heart Disease Risk

May 07, 2013
Manual labor may increase risk for heart attack and stroke.

Compound in Red Meat Linked to Heart Disease

May 06, 2013
Carnitine, found in red meats and energy drinks, may increase heart disease risk.

Understanding the Tobacco Control Act

May 02, 2013

A review of the law that helps protect the public against health problems caused by tobacco use.

Clinical Trials Shed Light on Minority Health

Clinical Trials Shed Light on Minority Health

Apr 26, 2013
Increasing minority participation in clinical trials can help ensure effectiveness and safety of drugs and devices for all Americans.

Binge Drinking Harms the Heart

Apr 23, 2013
A study highlights the negative impact that excessive drinking can have on the heart—even in young, healthy individuals.

Women Experience 'Typical' Heart Disease Symptoms, Too

Apr 19, 2013
Men and women with significant artery blockage are just as likely to experience typical symptoms—chest pain, pressure and tightness. Women differ, however, in how they describe their chest pain.

Save Money with These Prescription Drug Secrets

Apr 16, 2013

Following these tips and shopping around could help you save $100 or more a month depending on the drug.

Witnessing CPR Helps Reassure Family Members, Provides Closure

Apr 15, 2013

Researchers find that family members who observed CPR on their loved ones are significantly less likely to have post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. 

Sitting Increases Heart Disease Risk Regardless of Physical Activity

Apr 09, 2013
Activity and exercise are essential for health, but sitting for extended periods takes its toll nonetheless.

Breathing in Other People's Smoke is Dangerous for the Heart's Arteries

Apr 08, 2013
Study shows a direct relationship between the amount of secondhand smoke exposure and the amount of calcium deposits on the inner walls of the arteries.

Roots of Heart Disease Found in Mummies Dating Back 4,000 Years

Mar 26, 2013
Atherosclerosis is evident in one-third of mummies, across all populations in the study.

Despite Lifesaving Benefits, Fewer Women Than Men Get Cardiac Rehab

Mar 09, 2013
Women with coronary artery disease can improve their heart health and reduce their risk of dying from heart disease by attending cardiac rehabilitation.

Belly Fat Increases Cardiovascular Risk

Mar 06, 2013
Do you have a healthy BMI? Where we carry weight may determine our health more accurately than our BMI suggests.

Mediterranean Diet Lowers Cardiovascular Risk

Mar 06, 2013
According to a recent study, the Mediterranean diet, which is full of healthy fats, lowered the risk of heart attack, stroke and death by about 30% among middle-aged adults.

Southern Diet Explains the 'Stroke Belt'

Mar 06, 2013
A new study finds that a Southern-style diet filled with fried foods, processed meats and sugary drinks can increase stroke risk.

Do Financial Conflicts of Interest Impact Study Results?

Feb 21, 2013
According to a recent study, funding sources and conflicts of interest have no impact on the outcome of medical studies and trials.

Calcium Supplements May Increase Cardiovascular Risk in Men

Feb 19, 2013
While more research is needed, new findings show how calcium supplements could affect heart health in men.

CardioSmart Partners with Hospitals for National Heart Health Screening Day

Feb 14, 2013
CardioSmart is collaborating with hospitals nationwide to offer free heart health screenings to local residents.

American College of Cardiology Spotlights Heart Health Through Fashion

Feb 05, 2013
Live stream the Red Dress Collection Fashion Show and participate in other events for this national heart health awareness movement.
Spirit of the Heart

Spirit of the Heart—Helping Improve Your Community's Heart Health

Jan 29, 2013

Spirit of the Heart events offer heart disease screening and events in underserved communities.

CABG Superior to PCI in Patients with Diabetes

Nov 28, 2012

PCI is still risky for patients with diabetes, even with drug-eluting stents.

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