What is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is a process in which hardening of the arteries occurs. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic. Over time, however, too much pressure in your arteries can make the walls thick and stiff, sometimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues.
What causes atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may begin as early as childhood. Although the exact cause is unknown, atherosclerosis may start with damage or injury to the inner layer of an artery. The most common causes of atherosclerosis are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes.
What are the symptoms of atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis develops gradually. Mild atherosclerosis usually doesn't have any symptoms. Symptoms sometimes develop when an artery is so narrowed or clogged that it can not supply adequate blood to your organs and tissues. Sometimes, a blood clot completely blocks blood flow in the artery, triggering a heart attack or stroke.