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Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up on the insides of your arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your heart and other parts of your body.
Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. The flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body is reduced. This can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke, or even death. Atherosclerosis Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. www. nhlbi.nih.gov LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD Normal artery Narrowed artery Plaque Normal blood flow Abnormal blood flow