Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease characterized by thickening and thickening of the walls of the arteries. It does not arise from Atherosclerosis affects the arteries of medium and large sizes. In the early stages, visible lipid deposits (“fat streaks”) appear on the inner lining of the arteries. At the next stage, further deposition of lipids (fats and cholesterol) occurs and rounded dense formations appear – atherosclerotic plaques protruding into the lumen of the vessel and thereby narrowing it. Finally, necrosis begins in the thickness of individual or merged plaques. The progression of this process leads to the destruction of the plaque, which is accompanied by hemorrhages in its thickness and the formation of blood clots in the areas of ulceration. At the site of ulceration, dense scars gradually form, as a result of which the walls of the arteries lose the elasticity necessary to maintain normal blood pressure.

Signs and symptoms

Clinical (visible) signs of the disease appear mainly at the stage when atheromas or atherosclerotic plaques cause narrowing of the lumen of the arteries by 50% or more. Most often, the coronary arteries and large arteries of the head, thoracic and abdominal cavities, as well as the lower extremities are affected.

Atherosclerosis is the cause of the most serious cardiovascular diseases, in particular coronary heart disease, which is caused by sclerosis of one or more coronary arteries. When the blood flow in these arteries does not meet the needs of the heart tissue, pain attacks occur episodically; this condition is called angina pectoris (angina pectoris). If a complete blockade of blood flow occurs in a coronary artery narrowed by an atherosclerotic process (usually due to the formation of a blood clot in it – a thrombus), then myocardial infarction develops or sudden death occurs. The most common variant of a stroke (cerebral infarction) is associated with atherosclerosis of the cerebral arteries or the large carotid artery (in the neck), which supplies blood to the brain. Atherosclerotic lesions of the peripheral arteries, especially common in smokers and diabetics, are characterized by insufficient blood flow to the lower extremities, the occurrence of seizures during exercise and the threat of gangrene.


The easiest way to diagnose atherosclerosis early (before the onset of clinical manifestations) is to identify lipid metabolism disorders (blood test for lipid spectrum)


Atherosclerosis contributes to a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, fatty foods, as well as excessive weight gain. Prevention of atherosclerosis requires the transition to food containing little fat and cholesterol, smoking cessation; it is necessary to regulate blood pressure with diet and, if necessary, drugs; exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are also important. When the clinical signs of atherosclerosis have already appeared, it is possible to slow down its progression, and in some cases cause the regression of atherosclerotic changes.