In atherosclerosis, plaque builds up on
the inner walls of arteries, the blood vessels that carry
oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. As the artery walls
thicken, the pathway for blood narrows. This can decrease
or block blood flow through the body.
Plaque is formed from cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other
substances in the blood. When blood cholesterol levels are
high, there is a greater chance that plaque will build up
on the artery walls. In most people, this process begins when
they are children or teenagers and worsens as they get older.