Diease. Arteriosclerosis is a pathological process of injury to the lining of the arteries (endothelium) characterized by the build up of fatty deposits, cholesterol, inflammatory cells, calcium, and debris which gradually narrows the lumen (passageway) of the artery. Discrete plaques can rupture, thrombose (form a clot) and occlude (become completely blocked) leading to heart attack or stroke.
Progressive blockage. It is a progressive hardening of the arteries, caused by fat, cholesterol, and other substances building up in the arteries - this is called plaque - making the arteries stiffer. This plaque interferes with the normal function of the arteries and can cause problems and symptoms throughout the body. The plaque can block the arteries and/or it can break off and flow to smaller vessels and block them.
Limits to blood flow. In arteriosclerosis, cholesterol builds up in the walls of the artery compromising the inside of the artery where blood flows. The end result can be limitations in blood flow to the brain, heart, intestines, kidney, and extremities. The symptoms are particular to the organ affected.
Clogs and clots. The arteries become clogged, clotted, and occluded and the result is stroke, heart attack, or gangrene (depending on the location).