Skip to page contentSkip to footer

hw139808

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis

Normal artery and blood flow and an artery narrowed by atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis, sometimes called "hardening of the arteries," occurs when cholesterol, calcium, and other substances build up in the inner lining of the arteries, forming a material called plaque. Over time, plaque buildup may narrow the artery and limit blood flow through it.

Coronary artery disease is atherosclerosis in the heart (coronary) arteries. Peripheral arterial disease of the legs is atherosclerosis in the leg arteries. If atherosclerosis affects the brain arteries (carotid or cerebral arteries), a stroke can occur.

Current as of: December 16, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Robert A. Kloner MD, PhD - Cardiology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.