Cardiovascular disease

Atherosclerosis

(Hardened arteries)

About Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Plaque is a sticky substance made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque hardens and narrows your arteries. That limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your body.

Atherosclerosis can lead to serious problems, including

  • Coronary artery disease. These arteries supply blood to your heart. When they are blocked, you can suffer angina or a heart attack.
  • Carotid artery disease. These arteries supply blood to your brain. When they are blocked you can suffer a stroke.
  • Peripheral arterial disease. These arteries are in your arms, legs and pelvis. When they are blocked, you can suffer from numbness, pain and sometimes infections.

Atherosclerosis usually doesn't cause symptoms until it severely narrows or totally blocks an artery. Many people don't know they have it until they have a medical emergency.

A physical exam, imaging, and other diagnostic tests can tell if you have it. Medicines can slow the progress of plaque buildup. Your doctor may also recommend procedures such as angioplasty to open the arteries, or surgery on the coronary or carotid arteries. Lifestyle changes can also help. These include following a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and managing stress.

NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Top Medications for Atherosclerosis according to our users

Button Group. All currently active

All Medications for Atherosclerosis

  • Cholesterol-lowering > Statin

    • Crestor
      (Rosuvastatin)
      Prescription only

      Crestor (Rosuvastatin) is one of the most effective statins to improve cholesterol, but the brand name medication is expensive. Statin side effects can be difficult to deal with, but the benefits might outweigh the risks.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Atorvastatin
      Prescription only

      Lipitor (Atorvastatin) is a good medication to improve your cholesterol. Statin side effects can be difficult to deal with, but the benefits might outweigh the risks.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Simvastatin
      Prescription only

      Zocor (Simvastatin) is a good medication to improve your cholesterol. Statin side effects can be difficult to deal with, but the benefits might outweigh the risks.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Dissolving tablet
  • Anti-diabetic > Thiazoladinedione

  • Antihypertensive > Beta blocker

    • Atenolol
      Prescription only

      Tenormin (Atenolol) is good for controlling chest pain and treating heart failure and heart attack with fewer side effects than other beta blockers. You have to take it on an empty stomach, and you can't miss doses.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
    • Toprol XL
      (Metoprolol succinate)
      Prescription only

      Toprol Xl (Metoprolol Succinate) is good for controlling chest pain and treating heart failure and heart attack. You can't miss doses.

      • Available dosage forms:
      • Pill
      • Extended release

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