Atherosclerosis is a result of the build up of plaque inside of the arteries causing them to become narrow and hard. Plaque is formed in the arteries by excessive fat and blood cholesterol levels over a period of time. This causes a restriction on the amount of blood that can freely flow through the arteries from the heart to the rest of the body. Additionally, this plaque can break off and flow into the heart or brain as a clot, resulting in a stroke, heart attack, or heart failure.
Information. There are four main types of atherosclerosis that occur from the build up of plaque in different arteries. The first is coronary artery disease, where the arteries that supply the actual muscle of the heart with oxygenated blood become hard and blocked, resulting in heart disease and heart attack. The second is called carotid artery disease where the main arteries in the neck, the carotid arteries, become hard and blocked causing reduced blood flow to the brain tissues. The third type of atherosclerosis is called peripheral artery disease, when the arteries in the limbs become hard and blocked from build up of plaque, resulting in difficulty of oxygenated blood circulation in the arms and legs. The last type of atherosclerosis occurs when the renal arteries that provide oxygenated blood to the kidneys become hard and blocked, almost always resulting in failure of the kidneys.