Atherosclerosis: What is it?

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: April 2, 2016

We’ve all heard about atherosclerosis and have a vague notion that it has something to do with the heart. At least that is what the television commercials elude to. But what exactly is atherosclerosis?

Your heart relies on your arteries and veins to move blood to and from the heart. When plaque, a combination of bad cholesterol and fats, builds up in these “highways” of blood, it makes it difficult for the heart to get the blood out to the body and back to the heart. This plaque buildup is called atherosclerosis. 

This disease affects many of the major arteries in the body. They are named for the areas in which they affect:

  • Carotid Artery Disease: this is the artery that supplies oxygen to your brain. If plaque builds up in these arteries, it will reduce oxygen to the brain which can lead to a stroke.
  • Coronary Artery Disease: this occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the heart. These blockages are at risk of forming blood clots as well.
  • Peripheral Artery Disease: this occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that send blood to your feet, legs and pelvis. Blockages in this artery can result in pain and other dangerous conditions.

You can do things to avoid this disease. Maintain a healthy lifestyle through a diet full of heart-healthy foods, a regular exercise program, and scheduled visits to your doctor. The factors that cannot be controlled and contribute to the disease are age and heredity. If a close relative has or had atherosclerosis, then you are at a greater risk of developing it yourself. Make sure to communicate your family history to your physician.

If you feel like you are at risk for atherosclerosis, contact Tampa Cardiovascular Associates today at 813-975-2800 or schedule an appointment online at

Posted by: Tampa Cardio

On: 02/04/2016

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