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Classification and external resources
MeSH D001161

Arteriosclerosis refers to a stiffening of arteries.[1]

Arteriosclerosis is a general term describing any hardening (and loss of elasticity) of medium or large arteries (from the Greek arterio, meaning artery, and sclerosis, meaning hardening)

It should not be confused with "arteriolosclerosis" or "atherosclerosis".

Also known by the name "myoconditis" which is outdated and no longer in general use.



  • * Arteriosclerosis obliterans is typically seen in medium and large arteries of the lower extremity. Characterized by fibrosis of the intima and calcification of the media. The lumen of the vessel may be obliterated or markedly narrowed.
  • Medial calcific sclerosis (Monckeberg’s calcific sclerosis) is seen mostly in the elderly, commonly in arteries of the thyroid and uterus. Characterized by calcification of the internal elastic lamina but without thickening of the intima or narrowing of the vessel lumen. A similar form of an intramural calcification, presenting the picture of an early phase of arteriosclerosis, appears to be induced by a number of drugs that have an antiproliferative mechanism of action.[2]


Over the course of years and decades, plaque buildup narrows your arteries and makes them stiffer. These changes make it harder for blood to flow through them.

Clots may form in these narrowed arteries and block blood flow. Pieces of plaque can also break off and move to smaller blood vessels, blocking them.

Either way, the blockage starves tissues of blood and oxygen, which can result in damage or tissue death (necrosis).This is a common cause of heart attack and stroke. If a clot moves into an artery in the lungs, it can cause a pulmonary embolism.

In some cases, the plaque is part of a process that causes a weakening of the wall of an artery. This can lead to an aneurysm. Aneurysms can break open (rupture), and cause bleeding that can be life threatening.

Hardening of the arteries is a process that often occurs with aging. However, high blood cholesterol levels can make this process happen at a younger age.

For most people, high cholesterol levels are the result of an unhealthy lifestyle -- most commonly, eating a diet that is high in fat. Other lifestyle factors are heavy alcohol use, lack of exercise, and being overweight.

Other risk factors for hardening of the arteries are:


•Family history of hardening of the arteries

•High blood pressure



To help prevent hardening of the arteries, make the following lifestyle changes:

•Avoid fatty foods. Eat well-balanced meals that are low in fat and cholesterol. Include several daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Adding fish to your diet at least twice a week may be helpful. However, do not eat fried fish.

•Limit how much alcohol you drink -- one drink a day for women, two a day for men.

•Exercise for 30 minutes a day if you are not overweight, and for 60 - 90 minutes a day if you are overweight.

Quit smoking -- this is the single most important change you can make to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Get your blood pressure checked every 1 - 2 years before age 50 and yearly after age 50. Have your blood pressure checked more often if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or you have had a stroke. Talk to your doctor about how often you should have your blood pressure checked.

If your blood pressure is high, it is important for you to lower it and keep it under control.

•Everyone should keep their blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg

•If you have diabetes, kidney disease, or have had a stroke or heart attack, your blood pressure should probably be less than 130/80 mm/Hg. Ask your doctor what your blood pressure should be.

Your doctor may want you to take medicine for high cholesterol levels if lifestyle changes do not work. This will depend on:

•Your age

•Whether you have heart disease or other blood flow problems

•Whether you smoke or are overweight

•Whether you have high blood pressure or diabetes

Your doctor may suggest taking aspirin or another drug called clopidogrel (Plavix) to help prevent blood clots from forming in your arteries. These medicines are called antiplatelet drugs. DO NOT take aspirin without first talking to your doctor.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Arteriosclerosis — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Arteriosclerosis Clasificación y recursos externos Aviso médico …   Wikipedia Español

  • arteriosclerosis — f. cardiol. Conjunto de enfermedades en las que se produce un engrosamiento de la pared arterial con acúmulos de lípidos (ésteres del colesterol o fosfolípidos) y la consecuente pérdida de elasticidad. Con el tiempo se vuelven tortuosas o se… …   Diccionario médico

  • arteriosclerosis — 1. ‘Endurecimiento de las arterias’. También es correcta la forma arterioesclerosis, algo menos frecuente. Para el adjetivo derivado son válidas las formas arterio(e)sclerótico y arterio(e)sclerósico, con clara preferencia en el uso por la… …   Diccionario panhispánico de dudas

  • arteriosclerosis — (plural arteriosclerosis) sustantivo femenino 1. (no contable) Área: medicina Endurecimiento y estrechamiento de las arterias que dificulta la circulación sanguínea …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • Arteriosclerosis — Ar*te ri*o*scle*ro sis ([aum]r*t[=e] r[i^]*[ o]*skl[ e]*r[=o] s[i^]s), n. [NL.; Gr. ? artery + sclerosis.] (Med.) a chronic disease characterized by abnormal thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries, esp. of the intima, occurring… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Arteriosclerosis — vgl. Arteriosklerose …   Das Wörterbuch medizinischer Fachausdrücke

  • arteriosclerosis — (n.) hardening of the arteries, 1885, medical Latin, from ARTERIO (Cf. arterio ) + SCLEROSIS (Cf. sclerosis) …   Etymology dictionary

  • arteriosclerosis — (Del gr. ἀρτηρία, arteria, y σκλήρωσις, endurecimiento). f. Med. Endurecimiento más o menos generalizado de las arterias …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • arteriosclerosis — ► NOUN Medicine ▪ thickening and hardening of the walls of the arteries …   English terms dictionary

  • arteriosclerosis — [är tir΄ē ō΄sklə rō′sis] n. [ ARTERIO + SCLEROSIS] an abnormal thickening, and loss of elasticity, of the walls of the arteries arteriosclerotic [är tir΄ē ō΄sklərät′ik] adj …   English World dictionary