Atherosclerosis is a disease that causes plaque to build up inside blood vessels, which can narrow and harden essential arteries. This build-up may be characterized as fat, cholesterol, or other substances. Over time, cholesterol plaque obstructs blood flow, increasing the risk of a rupture, which may cause a blood clot to travel to an artery and cause significant damage. As mentioned previously, certain lifestyle changes such as exercise, quitting tobacco, taking blood thinners, and eating a healthy diet can reduce the effects of atherosclerosis. Patients affected by this condition should seek treatment to reduce their risk of serious complications.