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Atherosclerosis


What is atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery. (Arteriosclerosis is a general term for thickening or hardening of the arteries.) Plaque is made up of deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin, and can develop in medium or large arteries. The artery wall becomes thickened and loses its elasticity.

Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may start as early as childhood. However, the disease has the potential to progress rapidly.

What causes atherosclerosis?

It is unknown exactly how atherosclerosis begins or what causes it. Some scientists think that certain risk factors may be associated with atherosclerosis, including:

  • elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • high blood pressure
  • smoking
  • diabetes mellitus (type 1 diabetes)
  • obesity
  • physical inactivity
  • high saturated fat diet
Treatment for atherosclerosis:

Specific treatment will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • the location of the blockage
  • your signs and symptoms
  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapiesv
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference