(HealthDay News) -- 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.
- Getting older.
- Having family members who developed heart disease at a young
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