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What is Arteriosclerosis?

Arteriosclerosis is a term used to describe several diseases that involve the cardiovascular system and the many arteries and vessels which make it up. Atherosclerosis invades both the superficial and deep layers of the vessel walls. Arteriosclerosis is often referred to as "hardening of the arteries." In fact, interestingly enough, the word arteriosclerosis is a Greek word which actually means "hardening of the arteries."

What causes Arteriosclerosis?

Arteriosclerosis occurs over a period of many years during which the arteries of the cardiovascular system develop areas which become hard and brittle. Vessels become thickened. There is a loss of elasticity. It can involve the arteries of the cardiovascular system, the brain, kidneys, upper and lower extremities. This occurs because of the deposition of calcium in their walls.

Is Arteriosclerosis the same as Atherosclerosis?

Arteriosclerosis differs from atherosclerosis, which involves the buildup of fatty deposits in the innermost lining of large and medium-sized arteries. Atherosclerosis often leads to coronary heart disease, strokes, and other disorders because of the occurrence of blood clots which form in the narrowed arteries; hardening of the arteries, on the other hand occur only in advanced stages.

When arteriosclerosis involves the medium and smaller of the body, it is usually referred to as Monckeberg's, arteriosclerosis. This involves the deposition of calcium in the internal layers of the arteries of the lower extremities. This generally leads to an increase blood pressure.

How is Arteriosclerosis different from Arteriolar Sclerosis?

A third form of the disease is arteriolar sclerosis which involves both the inner and medial layers of smaller arteries the limbs, eyes, and internal organs. This condition causes decreased blood flow to these tissues which can create circulatory problems, peripheral vascular disease, impaired circulation to the eyes and kidneys causing blindness and kidney failure. Arteriosclerosis cannot only narrow arteries but it can also cause nodules in the arterial walls and ultimately obliterate the canal of the artery entirely.


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