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  FDA Heart Health Online --  Your Source for FDA Information about Living with Cardiovascular Disease.
Conditions and Diseases



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Other Names: Arteriosclerosis, Hardening of the Arteries
Atherosclerosis Illustration
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atherosclerosis pictures

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.

Associated Conditions:
Risk Factors:
Diagnosis Diagnosis Category.
Signs and Symptoms: Signs and Symptoms in the Diagnosis Category. Atherosclerosis does not usually cause symptoms until it narrows or blocks an artery. Once atherosclerosis has narrowed or blocked an artery, symptoms may include angina and cramping leg pain during walking (claudication).
Diagnostic Tests: Diagnostic Tests in the Diagnosis Category.
Treatments Treatments Category.
Medications: Medications in the Treatments Category.
Surgeries and Procedures: Surgeries and Procedures in the Treatments Category.
Medical Devices: Medical Devices in the Treatments Category.
Healthy Lifestyles: Lifestyle Changes in the Treatments Category.

Updated August 30, 2004

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