Medical Definition of Atherosclerosis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Atherosclerosis: A process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of medium-sized and large arteries as a result of fat deposits on their inner lining.

Risk factors for atherosclerosis include high levels of "bad" cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension), smoking, diabetes and a genetic family history of atherosclerotic disease.

Atherosclerosis is responsible for much coronary artery disease (angina and heart attacks) and many strokes.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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