How atherosclerosis develops
Atherosclerosis may develop when deposits of cholesterol (called plaque) accumulate at an injured area in the inner lining of an artery. As the deposits harden and narrow the arteries, blood flow to the tissues decreases. If the plaque ruptures, a clot may form, completely blocking the artery.
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.