Arteriosclerosis happens when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body (namely the arteries) become thick and stiff — oftentimes restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but over time, the walls in your arteries can harden, a condition more commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries.
Artherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis, but the terms are sometimes a bit interchangeable. Atherosclerosis refers to the build up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on your artery walls (plaque), which can restrict the flow of your blood.
The plaque can burth, triggering a blood clot. Although atherosclerosis is often considered a heart problem, it can affect arteries anywhere in your body. Atherosclerosis may be preventable and treatable.