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Arteriosclerosis is hardening and thickening of the walls of the arteries. This condition can occur because of fatty deposits on the inner lining of arteries (atherosclerosis), calcification of the wall of the arteries, or thickening of the muscular wall of the arteries from chronically elevated blood pressure. When arteriosclerosis affects the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, a shortage of oxygen delivered to the heart itself may lead to a heart attack.
Arteriosclerosis is a condition that can be detected by an autopsy.
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care
"Pathogenesis of atherosclerosis"