Atherosclerosis is a slow disease in which your arteries become clogged and hardened. The effects of atherosclerosis differ depending upon which arteries in the body narrow and become clogged with plaque. If the arteries that bring oxygen-rich blood to your heart are affected, you may have coronary artery disease, chest pain, or a heart attack. Many times, people with atherosclerosis do not have any symptoms until an artery is 40% clogged with plaque. Symptoms vary depending upon which arteries are affected.
Risk factors for atherosclerosis may include being male, If female, being past menopause, High blood pressure, High LDL ("bad") cholesterol or triglycerides (fats in the blood), Low HDL ("good") cholesterol, Diabetes, Being overweight, Smoking, A family history of heart disease, stroke, or arterial disease.
Healthy lifestyle choices are important in preventing and treating atherosclerosis. Your doctor may prescribe drugs to lower your cholesterol or blood pressure and to prevent complications. Nutrition and dietary supplements may help reduce your risk when used along with certain medications. Some herbs have also shown promise in lowering cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease.