”Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up on the insides of your arteries.
Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. The flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body is reduced. This can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death.
Atherosclerosis can affect any artery in the body.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) occurs when plaque builds up in the coronary (heart) arteries. CAD is a leading cause of death in the United States.
Carotid artery disease happens when plaque builds up in the carotid arteries (the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to your brain).
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) occurs when plaque builds up in the major arteries of the legs, arms, and pelvis.
Many factors raise your risk for atherosclerosis. Major risk factors include unhealthy cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking, insulin resistance, diabetes, overweight or obesity, lack of physical activity, age, and a family history of early heart disease.
Atherosclerosis usually doesn’t cause signs and symptoms until it severely narrows or totally blocks an artery. Many people don’t know they have the disease until they have a medical emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. Other signs and symptoms depend on which arteries are narrowed or blocked.”