Home Faculty and Staff Hospitals and Offices Education / Fellowships Make an Appointment
Keck School of Medicine of USC - University of Southern California
Department of Surgery
Department links
Home Physicians Locations Education Society of Graduate Surgeons Contact Us Divisions and Institutes
CardioVascular Thoracic Institute
image map
Areas of Expertise Diseases & Treatments Clinical Trials Research News & Articles Videos Web Links
Patient Guides & Programs Visitor's Guide Forms & Downloads About CVTI Make a Gift Contact Us

Glossary of Terms

Arteriosclerosis / Atherosclerosis

A generalized condition affecting the walls of the arteries. It is commonly referred to as "Hardening of the arteries". The cause of arteriosclerosis is not 100% defined, but major risk factors for developing arteriosclerosis include genetics, family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor diet, cigarette smoking, and lack of exercise. Arteriosclerosis is a slow process that begins early in life and develops over time. The end result is usually narrowing of the arteries by a build up of minerals and fatty deposits (plaque). The narrowing can progress to occlusion (obstruction or a closure of a passageway or vessel). Heart attacks and strokes are often the end result of severe arteriosclerosis of the arteries which supply the heart and brain with oxygen-rich blood.

Atherosclerosis showing artery with no plaque and artery with plaque buildup.

Share this page:
Call us for an Appointment at (323) 442-5849
Patient Guides & Programs
Department of Surgery Home Divisions Physicians Locations Contact Us Education Society of Graduate Surgeons Keck School of Medicine of USC University of Southern California