The leading killer of men and women in the United States
Atherosclerosis, sometimes called hardening of the arteries, occurs when sticky fat deposits called plaque adhere to the walls of blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood throughout the body. These deposits limit blood flow and can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says risk factors for developing atherosclerosis include:
Above-normal amounts of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high blood pressure.
Smoking and being overweight.
Having diabetes or being resistant to insulin.
Getting insufficient exercise.
Eating an unhealthy diet.
Having family members who developed heart disease at a young age.