The body relies on blood vessels to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the organs and tissues. When a person has atherosclerosis, the optimum functionality of this delivery system is disturbed. This condition occurs when blood vessels thicken and become stiff. Because of this, the condition is sometimes referred to as “hardening of the arteries” because the arteries actually become hard, impeding the delivery of oxygen to other parts of the body.
The condition develops gradually, even beginning as early as childhood. It develops as fats, LDL cholesterol, and various other substances build up on artery walls. The buildup causes the arteries to stiffen and narrow, which restricts blood flow, increasing the risk of blood clots, heart disease, and heart emergencies. Fortunately, atherosclerosis is treatable and may even be preventable.
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