The newsletter of the Memory Disorders Project at Rutgers University

Atherosclerosis Difinition

Atherosclerosis is the most common form of arteriosclerosis. It is caused by a build-up of cholesterol and calcium deposits in the lining of arteries. This narrows the passageway, reducing the flow of blood through the artery or even blocking it completely. As a result, atherosclerosis can cause reduced blood supply to the heart or brain; it can also affect leg circulation, leading to pain or cramping when walking.

What causes Atherosclerosis?

Like other forms of arteriosclerosis, age factors include age (over 60 years), sex (men are more at risk than women), obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure), high blood cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, and diabetes mellitus. Treatment may include regular exercise, a diet low in fat and cholesterol, giving up smoking and avoiding stress. In more severe cases, a surgical technique may be used to remove deposits from narrowed arteries (or bypass them altogether) and improve blood flow.

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by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain.