Atherosclerosis

Normal artery and blood flow and 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.

ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology

E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology

Current as ofJuly 6, 2015

Current as of: July 6, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology