The main difference between atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis is that arteriosclerosis is a broader term that refers to the condition in which the arteries narrow and harden, leading to poor circulation of blood throughout the body. On the other hand, atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis that occurs when plaque, cholesterol, and fatty substances build up in the arteries, leading to clogged arteries and reduced blood flow.
Atherosclerosis is caused by inflammation in the arteries, while arteriosclerosis is caused by elastin fibers in the arteries losing elasticity. Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis with different causes, symptoms, and treatment
Overview and Key Difference
Atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis are both cardiovascular diseases that involve the hardening and narrowing of blood vessels. While they are related conditions, there are distinct differences between the two.
What is Atherosclerosis?
Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries, causing them to narrow and harden over time. Plaque is a sticky substance made up of fat, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin. As plaque builds up in the arteries, the walls of the arteries become thickened and stiff, which reduces blood flow and oxygen supply to vital body organs and extremities. Atherosclerosis is a slow, progressive disease that may start as early as childhood and can progress rapidly.
The exact cause of atherosclerosis is not clear, but it is believed to be caused by a gradual buildup of plaque or thickening due to inflammation on the inside of the walls of the artery. Risk factors for atherosclerosis include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, obesity, and a family history of the disease.
While atherosclerosis cannot be cured, it can be managed and prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, and managing other health conditions.
What is Arteriosclerosis?
Arteriosclerosis is a type of vascular disease in which the arteries become damaged due to factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain genetic influences. It is a broader term for the condition in which the arteries narrow and harden, leading to poor circulation of blood throughout the body.
Arteriosclerosis occurs when the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from the heart to the rest of the body (arteries) become thick and stiff, sometimes restricting blood flow to the organs and tissues. Healthy arteries are flexible and elastic, but over time, the walls in the arteries can harden, a condition commonly called hardening of the arteries.
Arteriosclerosis can lead to severe health risks brought on by atherosclerosis, which is a specific form of arteriosclerosis caused by the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances in and on the artery walls.
Side-by-Side Comparison – Difference Between Atherosclerosis and Arteriosclerosis
The build-up of plaque in arteries, leading to narrowing and hardening of blood vessels
A broad term for the thickening and stiffening of arterial walls
Fatty deposits, cholesterol, and other substances in the arterial walls
Age, high blood pressure, and other factors
This can lead to decreased elasticity of arteries and increased risk of cardiovascular problems
Focus of Condition
Plaque build-up and its consequences
Degenerative changes in arterial walls
In summary, atherosclerosis is a specific type of arteriosclerosis characterized by the build-up of plaque in the arteries, leading to their narrowing and hardening. Arteriosclerosis, on the other hand, is a broader term referring to the general degenerative changes in arterial walls, which can include thickening, stiffening, and loss of elasticity. While atherosclerosis focuses on plaque build-up and its consequences, arteriosclerosis encompasses a wider range of arterial wall changes. It is important to understand these differences to properly diagnose and manage cardiovascular health conditions.