Atherosclerosis: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis (or arteriosclerotic vascular disease) is a condition where the arteries become narrowed and hardened due to an excessive buildup of plaque inside the arteries. 
Arteries are the blood vessels which carry oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the rest of the body. Overtime plague (made of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium and fibrin) hardens and narrows the arteries. This restricts the blood flow to different parts of the body. This potentially causes blood clots that can result in life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases.


Diagnosis will be based on the medical history of a patient, test results and a physical exam. Other diagnostic tests include:
  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Chest X- ray
  • Ankle/Brachial Index
  • Echocardiogrphy
  • CT scan

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