Atherosclerosis, literally hard (-sclerosis) arteries (athero-), is responsible for heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and many other diseases of old (or older) age. It’s due to unwanted plaques made of fats, blood clots, calcifications, and damaged tissue of the walls of arteries, causing the blood vessels to clog or rupture. Causes include combinations of:
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- High Cholesterol
- Heredity (genetics)
- High Blood Sugar (Diabetes)
- Chronic Inflammation (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)
- Chronic Infections, esp. if untreated (HIV, Hepatitis C, etc.)
Other risk factors include advancing age, male sex, increasing obesity, less exercise. Some of these risks can be dealt with (e.g. stop smoking). Others can’t be modified (e.g. age, sex).