Difference Between Atherosclerosis and Arteriosclerosis


Main Difference

The main difference between Atherosclerosis and Arteriosclerosis is that Atherosclerosis develops due to clogging of arteries by plaques and Arteriosclerosis develops due to loss of elastin in the walls of arteries.

Atherosclerosis vs. Arteriosclerosis

Atherosclerosis results due to blockage of arteries by fat deposits while Arteriosclerosis results due to loss of elastin. Atherosclerosis effects artery lumen, whereas Arteriosclerosis effects artery walls. Atherosclerosis develops mostly at the age of thirty whereas Arteriosclerosis develops mostly in older ages. Atherosclerosis becomes worse with time; on the other hand, Arteriosclerosis is worse even at early stages. Atherosclerosis does not develop in Arteriosclerosis mostly, but Arteriosclerosis develops in Atherosclerosis in some cases. Atherosclerosis does not show symptoms at the early stages, while Arteriosclerosis shows symptoms at early stages.


Comparison Chart

Atherosclerosis is defined as the clogging of arteries by fatty deposits which hardens the walls of arteries.Arteriosclerosis is the disease in which the walls of arteries become thick and hard because they lose the elasticity.
Consumption of cholesterol and fatsGenetic
Risk Factors
Alcohol intake
High serum level of LDL
High blood pressure
Insulin resistance
Tobacco use
Mode of Progression
SlowRelatively rapid
Resulting Diseases
stroke, peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease, and kidney related disordersHigh blood pressure, Kidney failure, Facial muscle disorders
At early stages asymptomatic, At late stages shows symptoms like dizziness, vertigo, palpitation, and blurred vision.Pressure and in the chest, sudden numbness of extremities, Drooping of facial muscles, High blood pressure, Kidney failure.
Removal of plaque, Placing a stent, Bypass graft surgeryNo special treatment
Beneficial Drug Classes
Calcium channel blockers
ACE inhibitors
Calcium channel blockers
ACE inhibitors

What is Atherosclerosis?

Atherosclerosis is the clogging of arteries by fatty substances. When the fatty deposits build up, they make the walls of the arteries leading to narrowing of the arteries and resulting in a slow rate of blood flow. The slow blood flow rate reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients reaching tissues. The composition of fatty tissues is cholesterol, cellular waste products, fats, fibrin, and calcium. Fatty deposits can block the blood flow rate partially or totally depending upon the extent of blockage of the arteries in brain, heart, legs, arms, and pelvis. Atherosclerosis precipitates some medical conditions like coronary heart disease, angina, and peripheral artery disease. Atherosclerosis also causes stroke, peripheral artery disease, coronary artery disease and kidney related disorders depending upon which type of artery is blocked. Atherosclerosis starts at an early age and worsens with the passage of time. Atherosclerosis progresses slowly, but after the age of thirty, it progresses rapidly and it becomes a dangerous disease after the age of fifty. Atherosclerosis does not show symptoms initially but after middle age symptoms start to appear. The exact cause of Atherosclerosis is not known, but there are a number of risk factors of Atherosclerosis such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, abnormal cholesterol levels, obesity, and family history. Atherosclerosis occurs when the endothelium is damaged, leading to accumulation of fatty substances and cholesterol into walls of arteries leading to build up of plaques. White blood cells move to damaged endothelium to clean up the accumulated fatty substances and cholesterol, but most of the time white blood cells stuck at that place. Plaques sometimes grow to a specific size and then stop growing, and this does not cause any harm. Atherosclerosis diagnosis is made on the basis of blood tests, ultrasound, physical exam and CT scan.

What is Arteriosclerosis?

Arteriosclerosis is the disease in which the walls of arteries become thick and hard because they lose the elasticity. Arteriosclerosis causes resistance to blood flow to different organs and tissues of the body. Arteriosclerosis is the loss of flexibility of walls of arteries because of the loss of elastin. Arteriosclerosis results due to old age because in the young age elastin is present and in the old age elastin is lost. The function of elastin is that it makes the walls of arteries flexible so that they can bear the high pressure of the blood, during exercise and extreme physical activity. When the arteries become stiff due to loss of elasticity, they resist the flow of blood, so the pressure rises as a result and keeps on increasing as the stiffness of arteries increases. Arteriosclerosis sometimes also develops in atherosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis shows symptoms like pressure in the chest, pain in the chest, sudden numbness of hands or legs, drooping of facial muscles, high blood pressure, pain sensation during walks, and kidney failure. Arteriosclerosis diagnosis is done by physical examination, ankle-brachial index test, ultrasound, blood test, CT scan, stress testing, and electrocardiogram. The risk factors of Arteriosclerosis are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and use of tobacco in any other form. Arteriosclerosis can be treated at an earlier stage if it is diagnosed at an earlier stage.


Key Differences

  1. Atherosclerosis is lead by fat deposits in arteries while Arteriosclerosis is lead by loss of elastin.
  2. Atherosclerosis is artery lumen disease, whereas Arteriosclerosis effects the walls of arteries.
  3. Atherosclerosis starts at early ages, on the other hand, Arteriosclerosis starts in old ages.
  4. Atherosclerosis is a slowly progressive disease, whereas Arteriosclerosis progresses rapidly relatively.
  5. Atherosclerosis is due to excessive use of cholesterol and fats while Arteriosclerosis is based on genetic traits.
  6. Atherosclerosis can be treated by lifestyle changes at early stages; on the other hand, Arteriosclerosis once developed cannot be changed.
  7. Atherosclerosis does not develop in Arteriosclerosis in most cases, but Arteriosclerosis develops in Atherosclerosis in some cases.


The main conclusion of the above discussion is that Atherosclerosis and Arteriosclerosis are fatal diseases of arteries and effect the regulation of several physiological processes.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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